By: Tatiana Whitlock
Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park, Maine is a breathtakingly beautiful place. Our Countries sun rises first on the peak of Cadillac in a blaze of color over the Atlantic. Four teams of twenty hikers will ascend the autumn draped mountain tomorrow. Each hiker will carry the stone of a Maine veteran who died in the line of duty since September 11, 2001. We are all participants in the living memorial that is The Summit Project.
Founded by USMC Major David J. Cote, The Summit Project is more than just a one day memorial hike. The project links the families of our States newest war casualties with the people they died to protect in an ongoing tribute with many more hikes to come. Hikers are responsible for more than just the hike alone. They must make a commitment to reach out to the families and forge a human, heart felt, connection. We learn that these warriors were more than just GI Joes. They were brothers, sons, fathers, friends, and husbands. They loved to ski with their kids or were pranksters that loved their Mothers cooking. Thanks to The Summit Project, their stories will not be forgotten.
“We will carry their stones during the hike, but we will carry their stories for a lifetime — making the Summit Project a living memorial.” –Major David J. Cote, USMC
Tomorrow I carry the memorial stone of Army 1st Sgt. Christopher D. Coffin to the top of Cadillac. The stone itself is less than five pounds yet the weight it possesses by the life it represents is immeasurable. Over the past weeks I have spent hours online learning about Chris and reaching out to his family. Here is a part of his story:
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