Members of the Maryland Military Department celebrated the diversity of the organization during the 14th annual Unity Day celebration at the Fifth Regiment Armory, Baltimore, Md., April 12, 2019.
During the event, attendees were able to explore booths to learn about different cultures and taste food from various countries across the globe. The planners’ intention for Unity Day was to encompass the diversity of the members from the entire department.
“The key thing the team tried to do this year was to really reflect everything the Maryland Military Department represents,” said Army Maj. Gen. Linda Singh, Maryland adjutant general. “When you look around, you’ll not just see different cultures but you’ll see our state partners bringing flavors from their culture.”
For the first time in the 14-year run of Unity Day, the Maryland National Guard’s partner countries, Estonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina from the National Guard Bureau’s State Partnership Program, sent representatives to engage with attendees and educate them on the culture of their respective countries.
“The State Partnership between Maryland and Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina is something that we are very grateful for,” said Lt. Col. Zoran Batarilo, AFBiH defense attaché. “I am very impressed with the event, I see a good atmosphere. The people are smiling that means the idea of Unity Day is reasonable and the purpose is achieved.”
In addition to learning about different cultures and sampling cuisine from various parts of the world, attendees were entertained by song and dance groups from a multitude of styles. Included in this aspect of Unity Day were young dancers from Paide, Estonia, The “Kabujalake” Folk Dance Group.
“We have a very robust partnership between the cities of Westminster and Paide,” said Army Sgt. Maj. (retired) Thomas Beyard. “We’ve been doing these types of visits for many years so it was just a matter of making a few phone calls and letting them know what we wanted to do and putting together a plan for them.”
The Kabujalake Folk Dance Group is comprised of eight Estonian young men and women, ages 13-16, and two adults, from Paide Hammerbecki Basic School in Paide, Estonia.
The annual Unity Day celebration was established to enhance cross-cultural awareness and promote harmony among all members and retirees of the Maryland National Guard and Maryland Military Department.