Maine Heroes are NOT Forgotten. I’ve been thinking a lot about the service members from Maine who died in the line of duty and in the service and defense of this country since September 11, 2001.
My name is Major David J. Cote. I’m an active-duty Marine Corps officer, an Iraq war veteran and a proud native Mainer. Over Memorial Day weekend 2013, I officially created The Summit Project. I launched this website and visited Maine to publicly share a vision for a unique project to honor and sustain the memories of our state’s newest war casualties and the faithful spirit of all Mainers — of whom one in seven are veterans, among the highest concentrations in the nation.
The Summit Project, a nationally recognized, Maine based, 501(c)3 service organization, is a living memorial that pays tribute to the fallen service members from Maine who have died in the line of duty since September 11, 2001. We have fundamentally changed the way we honor our post 9/11 fallen heroes from Maine. The mission of The Summit Project is to honor our state’s newest war casualties and the faithful spirit of all Mainers.
The Summit Project inspires service, strengthens communities and changes lives. It has reinforced the values that all Mainers hold dear – we look after one another, we remember one another, we take care of one another, we are faithful to one another and we literally lift each other to higher places.
The surviving families of our fallen Maine heroes have made this project viable. Not only have they shared the stories of their loved ones’ character, integrity and service, they have also unearthed and donated a special memorial stone that uniquely represents their loved one. We’ve engraved those stones and starting on Memorial Day 2013, volunteers have discovered the lives of our heroes and then carried these tribute stone and their stories on treks throughout Maine and across the world. Volunteers literally share and appreciate the burden shouldered by our fallen heroes and their families. Because The Summit Project is a Living Memorial each volunteer trekker must (1) learn all they can about our fallen; (2) carry the stone through a physical challenge; and (3) compose a post-event reflection letter addressed to the family of the fallen. Already, TSP stories and stones have been shared on Katahdin, Cadillac, Kilimanjaro, Everest, Denali and been carried through parades, marathons and marches all across Maine. Our heroes’ memories remain alive. The Summit Project is a Living Memorial because we live by our motto: We carry their stone for a hike, we carry their story for a lifetime.
The Summit Project ensures that Maine Heroes are NOT Forgotten (MHANF). It is a mission we take very seriously and we deliver on that promise. As you explore this site and learn more about TSP, you will see though our Living Memorial events, and Honor Display program, that TSP bolsters our communities by intersecting the lives of the fallen, their families and the faithful. You will also see, through the hundreds of post hike letters (posted on the individual pages of our fallen), that our heroes are NOT forgotten. Their memory and example lives on. They continue to inspire us and their deaths were NOT in vain. Finally, you will see that TSP reveals the character of Maine and America — A character of service, integrity, duty and loyalty. As Mainers, we look after one another, we remember one another, we make sacrifices for one another, we are faithful to each other and we carry each other to higher places, both literally and figuratively. Through TSP we are able to carry on the unfinished work of our fallen heroes toward creating a safer, sounder more just America.