WASHINGTON – Think of the state of Maryland and you think of — a strand of DNA?
That’s one of the things that comes to mind for Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan, or at least one of the things he would like others to conjure up when they think of the Free State.
Which is why Duncan would nominate DNA, the human genetic roadmap, to be on the reverse side of the quarter representing Maryland in the U.S. Mint’s 50 State Commemorative Coin Program.
“I can think of two things: The Wye Oak, representing Maryland’s history, and a DNA sequence, representing bioscience technology, Maryland’s future,” said Duncan, whose county is home to many of the biotech firms in the state.
“A lot of people would say the crab or something like that but if you want to look at to the future, it’s the human genome and Maryland is the world center for that,” he said.
Duncan is right about one thing: A lot of people said the blue crab would be the best symbol for the state when asked what should go on Maryland’s 25-cent piece.
“There is one symbol and one symbol only that people would identify with Maryland easily and that’s the blue crab,” said Vic Carter, anchor of the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. news on WJZ, Channel 13 in Baltimore.
“People come to go fishing and crabbing and for crab cakes, so the blue crab is the only thing that I believe is truly synonymous of Maryland,” he said.
George Williams, the director of the state Office of Tourism, agreed that “the crab would be good.”
“We are very well recognized by the crab, the icon of the state,” said Williams.
Former Ocean City Mayor Roland E. “Fish” Powell thinks the blue crab would be nice — along with a bushel basket-full of other possible symbols.
“I vote for the black-eyed Susan, the state flower, or the white marlin, but I might be biased because I’m from Ocean City,” said Powell.
“Also, there’s Fort McHenry. It’s a national shrine … and it inspired the `Star-Spangled Banner.’ I think it would represent the state well,” he said.
Maryland Senate President Thomas V. “Mike” Miller, a fanatical Maryland history buff, said he would nominate the State House.
“Obviously, the design would have to be something emphasizing Maryland history and possibly its role in the Revolutionary War,” said Miller, a Prince George’s County Democrat.
He said the State House fills the bill, since the Continental Congress met there and George Washington resigned his commission as commander in chief of the Continental Army in the building in 1783.
There are other historic structures in the state that could fill the bill in the competition for a state coin, of course. Just ask Fish Powell.
“It could also be the Naval Academy,” he said, ticking off another possible candidate for the coin design.
“These are the types of things that would be great,” said Powell.