Cemetery Advocates Incensed at Desecration of Silver Spring Grave Marker
A Statement by the Coalition to Protect Maryland Burial Sites – June 2020
The Coalition to Protect Maryland Burial Sites, Inc., the state-wide nonprofit that assists owners and advocates to preserve cemeteries, expresses dismay at the recent desecration and destruction of a historic grave marker in Montgomery County.
The Coalition was formed to protect all Maryland cemeteries. It beseeches citizens and organizations to preserve historic burial sites wherever they may be located and whoever is interred there. While we appreciate that some view Confederate memorials as hurtful, there is absolutely no excuse for vandalism and destruction of any grave marker, on public or private property.
The Coalition reminds all citizens and public officials that desecration of burial sites is a criminal offense, punishable by Maryland law. Section § 10-404 of the Annotated Code of Maryland prohibits destruction, damage, defacing, or removing funerary objects in a cemetery. A person who violates this law on conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 5 years or a fine not exceeding $10,000 or both. Further, a person found guilty shall pay for the restoration of any damaged or defaced property in a cemetery to the owner of the cemetery. The Coalition calls upon those with knowledge—anonymously or not—to alert local police about such crimes and individuals involved.
The Coalition is available to assist anyone who shares this concern, with information and expertise. The organization may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Official Statement: Historic Cemeteries Should be Protected and Preserved
BY NICHOLAS A. REDDING
In light of ongoing debate over the development of several historic cemeteries across the state, including the Christopher Cemetery in Baltimore, Maryland, Preservation Maryland Executive Director Nicholas Redding issued the following statement:
Historic cemeteries, like historic buildings and landscapes, provide critical connections between our past and future. Cemeteries literally contain the physical remnants – human remains – of our past. Cemeteries are evocative and powerful places that speak to descendants and casual visitors equally.
These silent and serene places are also worthy and deserving our respect and continued vigilance. Paving over cemeteries is never an acceptable or appropriate way to honor or preserve our historic burial grounds.
Moving forward, Preservation Maryland will continue to support the preservation of our state’s historic cemeteries. Whether through our partnership Six-to-Fix project with the Coalition for the Protection of Maryland Burial Sites or our planned project with the Maryland State Highway Administration to document historic cemeteries in a first-of-its-kind GIS database, we are committed to taking real and substantive action to protect these places.
We also believe that the state and jurisdictions across it should work proactively to protect historic cemeteries and make it clear that development of places made hallowed with human remains are not appropriate for development.
Source: Preservation Maryland