At Paca cel­e­bra­tion, Cop­per­smith en­cour­ages per­sonal re­spon­si­bil­ity

Record Observer - - Front Page - By KAYLA RI­VAS kri­vas@star­

QUEEN­STOWN — The Aspen In­sti­tute and Queen Anne’s County His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety held their jointly spon­sored 57th an­nual In­de­pen­dence Day Cel­e­bra­tion on Wed­nes­day, July 4, at the Aspen Wye River Con­fer­ence Cen­ter.

The event be­gan promptly at 11 a.m., with a wreath-lay­ing cer­e­mony at the gravesite of Wil­liam Paca, a signer of the Dec­la­ra­tion of In­de­pen­dence and the third gov­er­nor of Mary­land, who died in 1799.

“242 years ago to­day, Wil­liam Paca and 55 other men pledged their life, for­tune and their sa­cred honor to the cause that they be­lieved, that all are cre­ated equal and all are en­dowed with cer­tain un­alien­able rights, in­clud­ing life, lib­erty and the pur­suit of hap­pi­ness,” said Chris Pupke, pres­i­dent of the Queen Anne’s County His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety.

The Rev. Mary Gar­ner of St. Paul’s Epis­co­pal Church in Cen­tre­ville led the event with an in­vo­ca­tion.

Next, the na­tional anthem was sung by Nancy Cook, who is on the board of di­rec­tors of the Kent Is­land Her­itage So­ci­ety, ac­com­pa­nied by the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Com­mu­nity Band.

Two wreaths were placed at Paca’s gravesite — one by a mem­ber

of the Gen­eral Perry Ben­son Chap­ter of the Na­tional So­ci­ety Daugh­ters of the Amer­i­can Revo­lu­tion, and one by Dr. War­ren Tewes, past pres­i­dent of the Colonel Tench Til­gh­man Chap­ter of the Na­tional So­ci­ety, Sons of the Amer­i­can Revo­lu­tion.

Scott MacGlashan, clerk of the cir­cuit court for Queen Anne’s County, per­formed the an­nual bell ring­ing. The bell was rung 13 times in honor of the 13 colonies, and in honor of those who lived and died, de­fend­ing the na­tion and es­tab­lish­ing in­de­pen­dence.

The Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Com­mu­nity Band per­formed “Taps” in front of about 65 au­di­ence mem­bers.

Boy Scout Troop 464 led the as­sem­bled au­di­ence to the gar­dens on the east side of the house, where the Scouts pre­sented the col­ors, saluted the flag and re­cited “The Amer­i­can’s Creed.”

MacGlashan rec­og­nized vet­er­ans in the au­di­ence and thanked them for their ser­vice. Pupke and MacGlashan also rec­og­nized and ap­plauded mem­bers of law en­force­ment, EMS and fire­fight­ers. MacGlashan ad­di­tion­ally rec­og­nized mul­ti­ple com­mis­sion­ers, in­clud­ing Queen Anne’s County Com­mis­sioner Jack Wil­son and for­mer Com­mis­sioner Bob Sim­mons.

“I saved the best for last, Clerk for the Cir­cuit Court, Queen Anne’s County Elect, Kather­ine Hager,” Pupke said, while the au­di­ence cheered.

Dr. Clif­ford Cop­per­smith, the new pres­i­dent of the Ch­e­sa­peake Col­lege, was the key­note speaker.

Cop­per­smith was the dean of City Col­lege at Mon­tana State Univer­sity, Billings, from July 2015 to May 2018. He also is a for­mer com­mis­sioned of­fi­cer in the U.S. Army Re­serve and Army Na­tional Guard, and an in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cer with the Cen­tral In­tel­li­gence Agency.

Cop­per­smith and his wife Kath­leen have three adult chil­dren and three grand­chil­dren, and the cou­ple lives in Royal Oak.

Cop­per­smith said his wife is a di­rect de­scen­dent of an Amer­i­can Rev­o­lu­tion­ary War sol­dier, who served in just about ev­ery en­gage­ment of the Amer­i­can Revo­lu­tion, from Bunker Hill on.

“It’s a mir­a­cle he sur­vived,” Cop­per­smith said. “Kath­leen is also a di­rect de­scen­dent of a Civil War veteran.”

The topic of Cop­per­smith’s talk was “These Ev­i­dent Truths: The Dec­la­ra­tion of In­de­pen­dence and the Idea of Amer­ica,” which was de­liv­ered from his point of view as a his­to­rian, as he has a doc­tor­ate in his­tory and an­thro­pol­ogy from Ok­la­homa State Univer­sity.

“I be­lieve we are liv­ing po­ten­tially some of the most fas­ci­nat­ing and most de­struc­tive eras in any hu­man his­tory,” Cop­per­smith said.

“As I look at the decade of cri­sis in the colonies from 1763 to 1773 when the shoot­ing starts, I see a gal­lop­ing se­ries of events be­gin to gal­va­nize a move­ment: first amongst the colo­nial elite af­fected by Bri­tish tax pol­icy, but even­tu­ally shared down the var­i­ous lev­els of so­ci­ety as the ex­pe­ri­ence of op­pres­sion be­gins to convert un­in­ter­ested by­standers nor­mally sat­is­fied and proud to be Bri­tish Amer­i­cans into some­thing else. That was no small thing,” Cop­per­smith said.

“Even to­day with all this great Bri­tish tele­vi­sion we watch and our con­tin­u­ing fas­ci­na­tion with the Royal Fam­ily, this Eng­land still has a pull on our imag­i­na­tions and fa­mil­ial con­nec­tions, even if semi-myth­i­cal,” he said.

“His­to­ri­ans roughly es­ti­mate that at the time of Dec­la­ra­tion of In­de­pen­dence about one third of Amer­i­can colonists ac­tively sup­ported that move. From ab­so­lute Pa­tri­ots to those more gen­er­ally sup­port­ive but less com­mit­ted, as op­posed to one third of the pop­u­la­tion con­tin­u­ing to re­main in­tensely loyal Bri­tish cit­i­zens. The other third of the pop­u­la­tion was ei­ther ap­a­thetic about the is­sue or so far re­moved from the sit­u­a­tion they didn’t care ei­ther way,” he said.

Cop­per­smith said lo­cal pa­triot groups even­tu­ally co­a­lesced into com­mit­tees of cor­re­spon­dence to for­mu­late protests, like the Bos­ton Tea Party.

“The word that most comes to my mind about the Dec­la­ra­tion is as­pi­ra­tional ... One won­ders, can the as­pi­ra­tional el­e­ments of the Dec­la­ra­tion of In­de­pen­dence and the struc­ture of our Con­sti­tu­tion Repub­li­can­ism evolve and main­tain mean­ing through­out this volatile and dy­namic time?” Cop­per­smith asked.

Cop­per­smith said he re­mains op­ti­mistic in to­day’s try­ing times.

“If there is one un­spo­ken el­e­ment of the Dec­la­ra­tion of In­de­pen­dence that I see man­i­fested in the phi­los­o­phy of the doc­u­ment, (it) is the re­spon­si­bil­ity we have as in­di­vid­ual cit­i­zens to ex­er­cise re­spon­si­bil­ity for the fu­ture for our­selves and those that fol­low us.”

Cop­per­smith con­cluded his speech by re­mind­ing the au­di­ence of their re­spon­si­bil­ity to be in­volved, to read, to ac­quire in­for­ma­tion about the truth of mat­ters and to par­tic­i­pate in the process by vot­ing, de­bat­ing views and main­tain­ing con­nec­tions.

In shar­ing his thoughts on the day’s cel­e­bra­tions, Pupke said, “I thought it was a great day to honor those who served and helped gain our in­de­pen­dence. It’s a chance to cel­e­brate that in­de­pen­dence and our coun­try, to re­flect on what that means to us and hope­fully to reded­i­cate our­selves to our coun­try and all that it stands for.”

“As a his­to­rian, this place just echoes with all kinds of things from the past. It’s a won­der­ful fa­cil­ity and it con­tin­ues to play a ma­jor role in the com­mu­nity,” Cop­per­smith said. “I’ve re­ally en­joyed the ex­pe­ri­ence.”

Judy Price, di­rec­tor of Aspen In­sti­tute Wye River Cam­pus, said, “I think it was a lovely his­tor­i­cally sig­nif­i­cant cer­e­mony that we are so pleased to share with the lo­cal com­mu­nity. Dr. Cop­per­smith’s com­ments were very ap­pro­pri­ate. They were ed­u­ca­tional from a his­toric stand­point but also ver y per­ti­nent to to­day’s times.”

“I think our vis­i­tors re­ally en­joyed this event be­cause it re­flects the true mean­ing of In­de­pen­dence Day,” Price said.

The Aspen In­sti­tute also thanked the Queen Anne’s County His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety for its sup­port and co-spon­sor­ship of the event.



Boy Scout Troop 464 presents the col­ors at the Aspen In­sti­tute’s In­de­pen­dence Day cel­e­bra­tion.

Vet­er­ans in the au­di­ence stand as they are rec­og­nized by Scott MacGlashan dur­ing the July 4 cel­e­bra­tion at Wil­liam Paca Me­mo­rial.

Nancy Cook smiles as she pre­pares to sing the na­tional anthem along­side the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Com­mu­nity Band.


Dr. Clif­ford Cop­per­smith ad­dresses the au­di­ence at the July 4 cel­e­bra­tion at Wil­liam Paca Me­mo­rial.

Chris Pupke, pres­i­dent of Queen Anne’s His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety, in­tro­duces key­note speaker Dr. Clif­ford Cop­per­smith.

Wreaths are placed an­nu­ally at the gravesite of Wil­liam Paca, a signer of the Dec­la­ra­tion of In­de­pen­dence, dur­ing In­de­pen­dence Day cel­e­bra­tions at the Aspen Wye River Con­fer­ence Cen­ter.

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