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Veterans, students receive a hand from New York Giants in honoring fallen heroes at NJ cemetery

New York Giants players Jon Hillman, Chris Peace and Mark McLaurin and dozens of students helped lay wreaths on veterans' graves in Jersey City. (NJ Advance Media Group/TNS)

Jim Feeney served in the Vietnam War in 1966. Now, over 50 years later, he’s laying wreaths on the graves of his fallen brother and sister soldiers, which he calls an honor.

Feeney, 73, was one of the dozens of people who helped place wreaths on veterans’ graves at Historic Jersey City & Harsimus Cemetery on Saturday as part of Wreaths Across America, a nationwide event.

“I’m honored to be here,” said Feeney, who served in the Marine Corps. “And it’s an honor to lay wreaths for my fallen brothers and sisters.”

New York Giants players Jon Hilliman, Chris Peace and Mark McLaurin lent a hand with Saturday’s ceremony, laying wreaths and taking pictures with their fans.

“It’s beautiful,” Feeney said. “I’m a Jets fan, but I still appreciate it. … They could’ve been doing other things — I’m sure they have other things — but they’re here with us.”

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Paramus Catholic — where Giants safety Jabrill Peppers attended — and Saint Joseph Academy of Bogota were also represented at the event to teach their students how to thank veterans, PC Coordinator of Service Mary Pat Leon said.

Stella Scarano, of SJA, added that it’s “a great service for a small thank you.”

Attendees helped decorate the wreaths, which were donated by the 14th Street Garden Market and Wreaths Across America. Children of all ages, along with the Giants players, placed the wreaths on graves that had an American flag next to it.

Sandy Chiriboga, who’s part of the New Jersey chapter of Team RWB, an organization that helps American veterans, emphasized that it’s important to show the kids the sacrifices that veterans made and continue to make for their freedom.

Seven wreaths were placed along the fence at the cemetery by Hilliman, Peace and McLaurin in memory of those who fought or are still fighting in the Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and Merchant Marines.

“I just wanted to be here,” Peace told The Jersey Journal. “To be here and help in any way.”

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© 2019 NJ Advance Media Group