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Slideshow: Sgt. Mac Foundation preps wreaths for graves

More than 100 volunteers gathered in the Giant parking lot Friday morning to assemble 16,000 wreaths which will be placed on veterans’ graves at Quantico National Cemetery on Saturday.

The Sgt. Mac Foundation Wreath placement began in 2006 shortly after Gettysburg native Sgt. Eric McColley was killed in February 2006 along with seven fellow Marines and two airmen when two Marine CH-53e helicopters collided off the coast of Djibouti, Africa.

The following Christmas, Eric’s parents John and Susan, took wreaths to undecorated graves of service members who were buried near McColley in Quantico National Cemetery.

It was formalized the next year and was expanded to Gettysburg in 2008. The Sgt. Mac Foundation decided not to place wreaths on graves in Gettysburg this year because the National Park Service would not allow a short ceremony at the cemetery’s rostrum.

Click on any photo to start the slideshow.

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​Alex J. Hayes, Editor, has spent almost two decades in the Adams County news business. He is heavily involved in the community through his volunteer roles at the Rotary Club of Gettysburg, Saint Francis Xavier Catholic Church, United Way of Adams County, and Healthy Adams County. Alex is also a freelance writer for several other publications in South Central Pennsylvania.
Alex encourages readers to contact him at

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Terry Castonguay, U.S. Navy, Retired
Terry Castonguay, U.S. Navy, Retired
1 year ago

Very disappointing that the Sgt Mac Foundation leadership and the NPS GETT/EISE Superintendent could not resolve their differences and come to a compromise on this worthwhile holiday tradition supported and participated in by both sides since 2008.

Constructing the wreaths in the Giant parking lot on a crisp morning, is, a great Gettysburg tradition…, the somber act of laying the fresh red ribbon wreaths on the graves of military veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country in our local National Cemetery, was, a great Gettysburg tradition…

I’ve always said: “Flexibility…is the key to success…”

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