Hikers to honor fallen service members

SOUTHWEST HARBOR — Four teams of hikers are preparing to summit Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park on Saturday, Oct. 14, as part of The Summit Project, a unique living tribute honoring Maine’s military service members who have died since Sept. 11, 2001.

Each hiker will carry an engraved stone donated by the families of the fallen to the summit and back. The hikers will proceed to the summit from four sides, north, south, west, east. The hikers will arrive at the peak at the same time, and private ceremonies will be held.

The hikers will be joined by Gold Star Family members of Maine’s honored fallen heroes for a day of fellowship and remembrance at Smuggler’s Den Campground in Southwest Harbor. Many of the hikers are Gold Star Family members: parents, widows, siblings, cousins. The remaining hikers are volunteers who have committed to honoring the fondest wishes of the survivors: to ensure that the vibrant lives of their loved ones are remembered and not forgotten.

While the event itself is not open to the public in order to preserve the powerfully emotional nature of the event for the families of the fallen, the community is asked to show its support by providing a heroes’ welcome to the families of the fallen and the Patriot Guard Riders by filling the business district with signs and flags along the roadway to the island and into Southwest Harbor.

The Summit Project is a Maine-based, volunteer run and supported nonprofit service organization started in 2013. Unlike any project in America, it collects stories and stones that uniquely represent the country’s fallen heroes and allows the communities they died for to honor them through action. Volunteers learn about a fallen hero from Maine and then elect to carry his or her memorial stone in ongoing tribute treks across the world. Already, the memorial stones and memories of the fallen have traversed America and even summited the peaks of Mount Everest and Mount Kilimanjaro.

Visit and follow The Summit Project on Facebook.

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