- Category: East Coast
- Published on Tuesday, 31 May 2011 08:24
- Written by U.S. Army Public Affairs
- Hits: 993
Seventy-two years of darkness was overthrown with the flick of a switch this month as the Aberdeen Proving Ground relit the Pooles Island Lighthouse, the oldest standing lighthouse on the Chesapeake Bay. The lighthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
More than 300 spectators watched the show May 21 from the Spirit of Baltimore as part of a cruise sponsored by the Harford County Chamber of Commerce, Office of Economic Development, and the Army Alliance in cooperation with Aberdeen Proving Ground. Among those watching the historic event were Maj. Gen. Nick Justice, Installation and Research, Development and Engineering Command Commander, and Col. Orlando Ortiz, U.S. Army Garrison APG.
Justice and Ortiz led a ceremony from the open top deck of the ship to mark the event from within sight of the lighthouse. As darkness settled on the historic island, the two Army leaders were among those who fired a flare into the night sky. That signaled a team ashore to fire eight cannon shots, the last of which was followed by the lighthouse's beacon piercing the night for the first time in decades. The beacon began blinking in a four-three pattern to alert mariners they are passing the home of Team APG.
The APG's focus on the future is matched by its care for the past, Ortiz said. "Our support to our nation goes well beyond the contributions we make to national defense. As you can see with tonight's event, we're dedicated to preserving our history. We are also dedicated to protecting our nation's environmental resources."
Justice singled out a group of passengers with a long association with the lighthouse and the surrounding land. More than 30 descendents of the last longtime lighthouse keeper, Capt. Stephen Andrew Cohee, used the occasion to gather for a family reunion.
"Thank you for joining us here tonight I can only imagine what witnessing this event must mean to you, because I get goose bumps just to be able to bring this piece of history back to Maryland," Justice said.
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