DALLAS—On Memorial Day in Dallas, this year’s Carry the Load brought laughter, a few new dance moves, smiles, and friends.
But also..reflection, and tears.
Two Former Navy SEALs started Carry the Load as a way to lead folks back to the true meaning of Memorial Day. People in cities across the U.S. marched to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, and the 20-hour march came to a close at Reverchon Park Monday.
“It’s a real inspiration, also, and God provides so many ways and blessings,” Dorran Gilliespie, who attended with co-workers and little Khayden Gilliespie, said.
“I served for 11 years in the Marine Corps,” Mike Hays said, with his daughter Caroline on his shoulders. “I think it`s a quiet time for reflection.”
“We wanted to come out and teach the girls what the flags mean,” Connie Chatham said.
The rain didn’t stop anyone from coming out -- or from raising thousands of dollars.
“We've come out to support our troops, fallen brothers and sisters that were killed in the line of duty, whether it's law enforcement, fire, EMS, or military,” Michael Huggins, Jim and Jordan Simmons said.
One winner was rewarded for carrying 27 pounds for 56.5 miles.
There was one resounding question:
Who are you carrying?
“PFC Sam Williams Huff, a female, who is the youngest female soldier to be buried in Arlington Cemetery, PFC Erin Hudson, Lance Corporal Jacob Lugo, and Staff Sgt. Laurie Privette” Rachael Wilson said, marching with ’22Kill.’ “We are walking today in honor of all of our fellow brethren and sisters who have died in war and also those who have come back still fighting the battles. We want to raise awareness for veteran suicide.”
“One of my roommates, Lt. Clay Kennedy, was killed several years ago as a Marine officer, and there’s been several others since throughout the wars in the multiple years,” Hays said.
“Two family members on my necklaces that are veterinarians. My Great-Grandpa Turner and my Uncle Rick,” Natalie Rooney said. “Seeing the flags really brought it home for them,” Jay Rooney said.
“I can’t imagine any other way to come out and spend Memorial Day Weekend,” Simmons said.
“Remember all of the guys that have given their lives for our freedom,” Chatham declared.