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Remembering the Francis Key Bridge

At approximately 1:30 a.m. on March 26, 2024, a cargo ship leaving the Port of Baltimore struck the (I-695) Francis Scott Key Bridge. This caused a devastating collapse of the bridge.

Completed in 1977, the Francis Scott Key Bridge was a practical, final link to the beltway of roads that circled Baltimore Harbor, a much-needed solution to reduce Harbor Tunnel congestion. But for so many, it was more than that. For decades blue-collar workers crossed the bridge. Teenagers celebrated new driver’s licenses by traversing it. And couples were known to get engaged near it.

For some, it symbolized the working-class communities around it—for others, the city itself. The bridge also served as a reminder of a storied chapter in history: Near Fort McHenry, the bridge is believed by historians to be within 100 yards from where Key was held by the British during the War of 1812. It was here that he witnessed the siege of the Fort in September 1814 and wrote the poem that became the national anthem.

And the Key Bridge was simply a presence in people’s everyday lives. Since the collapse, residents have been processing the loss on many levels, from profound grief for the six workers who died, to concern for the immigrant communities affected by the port’s shutdown, to a sense of emptiness that has cast a pall over their memories.

Possible Preaching Angle:

Bridges have tremendous significance. It’s the way to travel safely from one destination to another. No wonder we invest a bridge with deep meaning. As the Eternal Son of God, Jesus is the ultimate bridge, through his work on the Cross, reconciling God the Father with a sinful humanity.

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