2017— is it far away or just around the corner?
For the planners for Fort Meade’s 100th anniversary celebration, it’s definitely coming up soon and it’s definitely time to get busy.
The commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of Fort Meade is being led by one of its former Fort Meade garrison commanders, Col. (ret.) Ken McCreedy. Linda Greene, the recently retired executive director of the BWI Business Partnership, is serving as vice chair for the event.
“We began talking about potential ways to celebrate more than a year ago, but now detailed planning has begun, in earnest,” McCreedy said. “We’ve developed our mission, and thanks to the Fort Meade Museum staff, a logo, as our first step in marketing. We’ve met with Installation Command staff, including Col. Brian Foley, and the excellent team at the Fort Meade Museum, and then laid out priorities for celebrating this important milestone.”
The planning includes multiple events, as one might expect, including a gala that will draw in many of the great Meade supporters in this region. Another major component, however, is educational activities, from those that include local schools to a symposium that should draw papers and speakers on major historical aspects of Fort Meade’s history. McCreedy, who holds a doctorate in history, is leading that aspect of planning.
For the record, June 23, 1917, is recognized as the date Congress officially selected the site that would become what was then known as Camp Meade. The acreage that formed Camp Meade was purchased for $37 an acre from local families. Selected due to its proximity to railroad lines and the Port of Baltimore, as well as the nation’s capital, the price tag for initial construction of the training center was $18 million.
“We want to involve those families into the commemoration,” Greene said, “and have some initial ideas to discuss with the community.”
We’re talking about a year-long schedule of activities,” she said, “so we want to tie into it with many of the events and activities the Fort Meade installation regularly organizes and promotes, such as concerts, and infuse them with a historical perspective. Fort Meade today is the nation’s epicenter for intelligence, information and cybersecurity, but there are so many aspects of its history that can be highlighted and explored.”
2017 also, of course, marks the 100th anniversary of the First World War, and coordination with plans for that celebration is important. “The national World War I Centennial Commission is geared up,” McCreedy said, “and we’ve met with them several times. We will be working closely with them, as well as a military community to our north — Aberdeen Proving Grounds — which is also marking its centennial.
To accomplish the ambitious agenda, the planners are in processing of setting up four working committees. If you are interested in joining the effort, contact Linda Greene at [email protected].