Dec 7



Over 700 Christmas wreaths were placed on the headstones of mostly the post Civil War graves in the Soldiers’ National Cemetery last Friday. Here is the grave of Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, Captain William E. Miller, of the 3rd Pennsylvania Cavalry. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions at East Cavalry Field on July 3, 1863. The wreaths are a gift of a foundation, established by the family of a local Marine killed in a helicopter accident off the northeast coast of Africa in 2006. This view was taken facing west at approximately 8:15 AM on Sunday, December 6, 2009.

Over 700 Christmas wreaths were placed in Gettysburg’s Soldiers’ National Cemetery on Friday by 50 volunteers. The wreaths were the gift of the foundation began by the family of Marine Sergeant Jonathan Eric McColley. The 23 year old McColley was killed in a helicopter accident on February 17, 2006 off the coast of Djibouti.

The McColley’s created the National Wreath Project, a program from the non-profit organization they set up to honor veterans, the Sgt. Mac Foundation. This Christmas donations and volunteers led to the placement of over 2200 wreaths at the National Cemetery in Quantico, Virginia where Sergeant McColley is buried. This is the second year the wreaths have been placed in the Gettysburg National Cemetery, near Eric’s childhood home.

See our post on the first time the wreaths were placed at Gettysburg on December 9, 2008.



The first Thanksgiving after Eric died, his family visited his grave at Quantico and brought a Christmas wreath. They visited frequently, brought a new wreath each time, and placed the old wreaths on the graves next to Eric’s. This view was taken facing west at approximately 8:15 AM on Sunday, December 6, 2009.



Hopefully the stones will get cleaned this summer. The color of the stones shouldn’t match the color of the wreaths, even for Christmas. This view was facing west at approximately 8:15 AM on Sunday, December 6, 2009.



Eric’s family noticed on their many visits to Quantico that many other graves were not decorated, and wondered what the best time was to buy the most wreaths at the cheapest price. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 8:15 AM on Sunday, December 6, 2009.



They purchased over 500 wreaths on sale for $1 each on Christmas Eve, 2006, and decorated most of the graves in Eric’s section at Quantico that Christmas Day. This view was taken facing north at approximately 8:15 AM on Sunday, December 6, 2009.



The McColley’s created the National Wreath Project, a program from the non-profit organization they set up to honor veterans, the Sgt. Mac Foundation. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 8:15 AM on Sunday, December 6, 2009.



In Christmas, 2007, donations and volunteers led to the placement of over 2100 wreaths at Quantico. Approximately 400 wreaths were also placed at Gettysburg last year. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 8:15 AM on Sunday, December 6, 2009.



The Friend to Friend Monument is in the background. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 8:15 AM on Sunday, December 6, 2009.



Last Friday, approximately 50 volunteers met at the Giant Food Store on York Road. They tied the ribbons to the wreaths and brought them to the National Cemetery. This view was taken facing north at approximately 8:15 AM on Sunday, December 6, 2009.



The wreaths were placed near the stone wall that borders the Taneytown Road and the Cemetery annex. Most of the Civil War Section of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery was not decorated. This view was facing north at approximately 8:15 AM on Sunday, December 6, 2009.



This view was taken facing west at approximately 8:15 AM on Sunday, December 6, 2009.



This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 4:30 PM on Tuesday, December 9, 2008.



William Miller’s stone is in the foreground. This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 4:30 PM on Tuesday, December 9, 2008.



Henry Minnigh, whose stone is in the foreground, was a Gettysburg schoolteacher in 1860. He was a Captain in Company K, of the 1st Pennsylvania Reserves (30th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment) which fought from Little Round Top to the Wheatfield on July 2, 1863.  This view was taken facing west at approximately 8:15 AM on Sunday, December 6, 2009.



This view was taken facing southwest at approximately 8:15 AM on Sunday, December 6, 2009.



This view was taken facing west at approximately 8:15 AM on Sunday, December 6, 2009.



This view was taken facing southwest at approximately 8:15 AM on Sunday, December 6, 2009.



This view was taken facing west at approximately 8:15 AM on Sunday, December 6, 2009.



This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 8:15 AM on Sunday, December 6, 2009.



Some graves closer to the primary Civil War section were also decorated. The Soldiers National Monument is in the background. This view was facing south at approximately 8:15 AM on Sunday, December 6, 2009.



Here are the decorated headstones on the other (east) side of the road. This view was taken facing west at approximately 8:15 AM on Sunday, December 6, 2009.



This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 4:30 PM on Tuesday, December 9, 2008.



William Miller’s stone is in the foreground. This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 4:30 PM on Tuesday, December 9, 2008.



The New York State Monument is in the background. This view was taken facing east at approximately 8:15 AM on Sunday, December 6, 2009.



There are over 6000 individuals buried in the Gettysburg Soldiers’ National Cemetery. Approximately 3500 are Civil War era dead, and the rest are post Civil War. There are not enough wreaths for all of the graves. This view was taken facing west at approximately 8:15 AM on Sunday, December 6, 2009.



Hopefully next year your donation will help over 2000 wreaths to be placed at Gettysburg. This view was taken facing south at approximately 8:15 AM on Sunday, December 6, 2009.



This is a fitting project to honor those who have served our country. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 8:15 AM on Sunday, December 6, 2009.

See our posts on the Soldiers’ National Cemetery:

The Confusing Gettysburg Address Memorial on May 16, 2008.
Memorial Day Weekend Flag Decorations on May 25, 2008.
National Cemetery Walk on July 14, 2008.
Gettysburg Witness Tree Damaged in Soldiers National Cemetery on August 10, 2008.
Gettysburg Witness Tree and Sickles Witness Fence Damage on August 12, 2008.
Gettysburg National Cemetery Christmas Wreaths on December 9, 2008.
Gettysburg National Cemetery Fence and Sickles Witness Fence Update on June 20, 2009.
Flags Placed in the Gettysburg National Cemetery for the 146th Anniversary on July 1, 2009.
Gettysburg National Cemetery Part 1 with LBG Roy Frampton on July 23, 2009.
Gettysburg National Cemetery Part 2 with LBG Roy Frampton on July 30, 2009.
Gettysburg National Cemetery Part 3 with LBG Roy Frampton on August 7, 2009.
Gettysburg National Cemetery Part 4 with LBG Roy Frampton on August 21, 2009.
National Cemetery Baltimore Street Entrance Gate Restored and Repainted on September 1, 2009.
Sickles Witness Fence Work Begins Again with New Contractor on September 6, 2009.
Gettysburg National Cemetery Part 5 with LBG Roy Frampton on September 7, 2009.


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