Maine Native Has Hiking Plan To Honor Fallen Veterans

Caitlin Burchill

Updated 9 months ago

A Maine native has come up with a project to honor fallen veterans who lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan.While the project is still evolving, he hopes to gather support for it.He calls it “The Summit Project,” snd his plan, to get a group to hike up Mt. Katahdin next Memorial Day with stones given to him by families of fallen Maine soldiers.”I think that this idea of hiking a stone which represents the fallen is kind of a metaphor of bearing a cross. Making a small sacrifice because they made the ultimate sacrifice,” said Maj. David Cote, “The Summit Project” creator. Cote thought of the idea on Memorial Day when his Navy Seal friends honored their fallen comrades by leaving stones on top of a mountain in California.While the active duty Marine Corps officer now lives in Arlington, he wants to honor those from a place he calls home.We spoke to him via Skype.”I think that it’s really important to honor our veterans and the sacrifices that they make particularly in the state of Maine. We have the third highest number of veterans in our adult population. The third highest in the nation, so I think that’s pretty extraordinary,” said Cote. So far, he has received more than ten stones from families from places that were important to the their loved ones. “It’s been so extraordinary to meet some of these families they embrace me. They open their arms and their hearts. I went into their homes and learned about their fallen son and family member or friend. They are embracing the project. They think it’s a remarkable idea,” Cote said. Unlike his friends’ memorial, Cote hopes “The Summit Project” will be forever moving.”The families like that idea better too because it becomes a living memorial, it’s not a one time thing. Every time someone touches that stone they learn about a fallen hero. A fallen hero from our state,” he said. After two tours oversees during Operation Iraqi Freedom, this Maine veteran likes the idea.”From a veterans standpoint, I thought the idea was amazing. We as veterans do not want the memories of the fallen to vanish, to be forgotten, and this is an excellent way to keep the memories of the fallen,” said Amy Johnston, “The Summit Project” supporter. She plans on being there.”Definitely on Memorial Day 2014. I hope to carry a rock to Mt. Katahdin myself or as many as I’d be allowed and I hope that many veterans like myself will hope to do the same or participate really in any way they can,” said Johnston. “If you can find something out of the earth that you’re willing to donate that represents that fallen service member and their sacrifice, we want it. We want to hike it up and we want to pay a tribute and pay honor to your fallen hero,” said Cote. If you want to learn more about the project or you wish to participate, check out Cote’s website The Summit Projectand Facebook page The Summit Project.


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