Every morning, Gov. Wes Moore logs onto a video link for another update on the Francis Scott Key Bridge.

What happened in the last 12 hours? What will happen in the next 12?

Some of those on these closed conference calls with local, state and federal officials say Moore’s leadership style reflects his 16 years in the Army, including a one-year deployment to Afghanistan.

He defers to technical experts at the Army Corps of Engineers and the Coast Guard, the federal agencies working to remove the container ship Dali from the wreckage of the bridge it destroyed in the early hours of March 26. His staff speaks up at will, rather than waiting for their boss to put himself center stage.

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Outside these daily briefings, Moore is working to leave little room for disinformation — such as suggestions that Maryland’s commitment to diversity was to blame for the collapse, or that immigrants were somehow the cause, or that this was an attack prefacing World War III.

“My response is I have no time for foolishness,” Moore said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“I’m locked in on making sure that we can bring closure and comfort to these families and making sure that we’re going to keep our first responders safe or doing heroic work.”

When host Dana Bash persisted, he doubled down.

“I’m locked in.”

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You don’t pick the crisis that defines you. It picks you. The collapse of the Key Bridge can be a defining moment in the life of Maryland’s young governor and for Maryland as well.

It may turn out that this calamity, with its loss of life and livelihood, marks the point where the state comes together behind Moore’s leadership to fully support Baltimore, taking one giant step toward a great restoration. It is an opportunity to put aside the lazy temptation to bash the city for its violence and poverty and see it as a symbol of Maryland’s potential.

The bridge disaster has no true parallel in the state’s history. Most governors face floods, tornados and tropical storms. A few have confronted mass shootings or accidents that killed and injured people by the score.

Only Gov. Larry Hogan has led the state through anything bigger, the economic and social disruption caused by the COVID pandemic and its 16,000 deaths. His leadership put him in the national spotlight for getting it right, although at the cost of a Maryland Republican electorate besotted with President Donald Trump.

Gov. Parris Glendening was in office on Sept. 11, 2001, when the chaos that comes with the job arrived. After terrorists flew passenger jets into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, it looked like a fourth hijacked jetliner was headed for the U.S. Capitol or the Naval Academy in Annapolis before it crashed into a Pennsylvania field.

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“You’re just never going to know what’s going to happen next,” Glendening said.

In the week since the Dali struck one of the Key Bridge’s support columns at 1:29 a.m., toppling the 47-year-old bridge in a matter of seconds, Moore seems to be almost everywhere at once, a style we’ve seen in his first 16 months in office. Wherever he goes, his staff photographer is not far behind.

The images of Moore and Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott looking out at the wreckage, coupled with the governor’s lofty language, can appear to some as if he’s trying too hard to get noticed.

“So the Governor and the Mayor are turning a tragic accident into a competition for who can get the most face time on TV,” one critic emailed me Sunday. “Unless he’s actually holding the burning bars and cutting the steel, his time is up.”

In the past, that might have been true. But mass communication today plays to a different rhythm than the days when print editions and the 11 o’clock news informed us. Images and words recycle in digestible snippets across social media. If you want to speak to the 20- and 30-somethings fluent in this language, you say things that will resonate on those terms.

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Whether he was riffing on Proverbs 23:9 — “Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words” — or bestselling author James McBride — “There ain’t no time for foolishness now” — Moore’s Sunday rebuke is doing just that. It is playing on repeat over at X, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok.

If Moore’s comfort on these channels is evident, so is his reliance on his time in uniform. Attending college on an ROTC scholarship, he moved to active duty after the Sept. 11 attacks and was a captain when he left the service in 2014.

When I described Moore’s briefings to Tom Jurkowsky, the retired Navy rear admiral instantly recognized them. He was the Navy chief of information, but first experienced morning and evening lineups as a junior officer in the fleet.

Department heads lined up with the ship’s commander at 7:30 in the morning and 8:30 at night to explain their focus and their problems. Others in the meeting might offer help or lessons from a similar experience, but it was the leader responsible for decisions who benefited the most.

“It’s really effective because it keeps the boss informed,” Jurkowsky said.

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Gov. Wes Moore, left, and Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott survey the damage at the scene of the scene of the collapsed Francis Scott Key bridge. (Courtesy of Gov. Moore's Office/Handout)

We’re a long way from what one emergency response professional told me was the apex of the crisis response — the day when wreckage is cleared, the river bottom scoured and shipping resumes in the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore. True to form, Moore has tried to inspire with oratory and a determined assessment of the challenge ahead.

“This work will not take days. This work will not just take weeks. We have a very long road ahead of us,” he said days after the collapse. “We understand that, and we’re preparing.”

His list of things to do is long.

It starts with getting information to those who need it. The Maryland Toll Authority took 48 hours to set up a website for information and updates. While you can choose text alerts from a broad menu of subjects at MDReady, that state lags behind local agencies in Annapolis and Baltimore that offer an app to save you from sorting this out midcrisis.

It continues with collaboration. Moore will have to be the axle of a wheel carrying the desire to be heard in Baltimore City, Baltimore and Anne Arundel counties, the General Assembly, and weighted with the power of federal engineers, admirals, directors, cabinet secretaries and even the White House.

He has to be atop the command structure, clearly stating the objectives of reopening the port and then rebuilding. He’ll need help with the Republican-led House of Representatives — which must approve new federal spending but doesn’t seem capable of agreeing on anything, let alone helping a blue-majority state and a Black-majority city.

“How in the world are they going to reach some kind of consensus to build a new bridge?” Glendening asked.

Beyond the day-to-day crisis management is where the opportunity lies.

If you live outside Baltimore, it may be hard to care much about what happens within Maryland’s largest city. It long ago lost its economic and cultural dominance of the state. Maryland has almost as many identities as it has counties, in part because its biggest city struggles to define its relevance for the rest of us.

State lawmakers from Pasadena to Dundalk were among the first to set that aside and offer a glimmer of what success could mean.

For Wes Moore and for Maryland, it is a chance for lasting change.