Parsons Wreaths Ceremony set for this Saturday

This year’s Wreaths Across America ceremony at Parsons Cemetery will be aided by a new map that identifies hundreds of graves of U.S. veterans.

The map was created by Dr. Brent J. Zaprowski and Dr. Stuart Hamilton with the help of Salisbury University students using drones and the global positioning system.

Zaprowski approached the Parsons Cemetery Committee members and offered to help after observing volunteers last year walk the entire cemetery looking for veterans, said organizer Carol Smith.

“He said ‘there must be a better way’,” she said. “We accepted his offer.”

The cemetery committee had identified approximately 700 graves, using information on gravestones or other markers. 

“Brent and his students have raised that number to over 900 and they are still looking,” Smith said. “His map and efforts are still underway.”

Parsons Cemetery started as the Parsons family burial ground on the family’s 53-acre farm, according to the cemetery’s website.  In 1873, Benjamin Parsons left his home and farm to St. Peter’s Episcopal Church as a cemetery. Parsons was known as a wealthy merchant and served as president of the Bank of Salisbury.  

St. Peter’s continues to own the land, but Parsons Cemetery is a separate nonprofit entity. 

The Wreaths Across America ceremony will be held at Parsons Cemetery and at cemeteries across the country, on Saturday, Dec. 14, at 10 a.m. with a procession from the main gate.

An honor guard will escort the wreaths into the cemetery on a vintage army truck, accompanied by veteran and civic groups, scouts and 4-H’ers and any community members wishing to walk with the procession. 

The guest speaker will be Muir Boda, Vice President of the Salisbury City Council.

This is a rain or shine event, open to the public.

The cemetery will be closed to regular traffic, offsite parking has been arranged and Courtesy Transit is running a special bus service beginning at 9 a.m. from the parking lots at North Salisbury Elementary School and Bethesda United Methodist Church to the cemetery ceremonial area. Parking within the cemetery will be limited to those with disability placards.

North Division Street will be closed at the cemetery’s main gate at 9 a.m. to allow the procession to mobilize and commence at 10 a.m. 

The deadline to order wreaths is Dec. 2. Orders can be placed online with Wreaths Across America. Click “Specific Cemetery” and select “Location To Support.” Type in Parsons Cemetery (MDPACS). 

For information or help ordering, contact the Cemetery at 443-266-4764 or by email parsonscemetery1873@gmail.com.

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