Mr. KING. Madam President, I wish to commend the Summit Project and its leader Maj. David Cote for their meaningful effort to sustain and honor the memories of Maine's veterans who have fallen since September 11, 2001. Founded on Memorial Day, 2013, the Summit Project aims to carry stone memorials representing each of those heroes up mountains in Maine beginning on Memorial Day, 2014, and continuing annually. This thoughtful endeavor is already helping Gold Star families heal and will undoubtedly preserve the memory of their loved ones as the years pass.
Maine servicemembers and their families have made monumental sacrifices during the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. To date, 68 Mainers or members of the Armed Forces with ties to Maine have made the ultimate sacrifice during the wars in those countries. I am profoundly grateful for the service of these brave Americans and for the service of their fellow soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines who continue to protect our freedom on battlefields far from home.
Preserving a living memory of our fallen heroes is especially important in my home State of Maine. As Major Cote writes on the Summit Project's Web site, ``Mainers are veterans. Maine's patriotism and commitment to service in our Armed Forces is nothing short of extraordinary.''
The Department of Veterans Affairs reports that 130,196 veterans live in our State, which means that nearly one in every ten Mainers is a veteran. These distinguished citizens, their families, and their friends know that, to paraphrase the words of President Kennedy, ``A nation reveals itself not only by the men and women that it produces, but also by the men and women it honors, the men and women it remembers.'' The Summit Project reveals the character of Maine: a character notable for its integrity, service to others, honor, and loyalty.