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DALLAS – When you think of Memorial Day weekend, a lot of people think, barbecue, beer, boats. But the top of that list should always be to remember those who gave up everything for our freedom.

“To us, it’s a very sad day. It’s a very painful day to veterans,” says Marine Corps Veteran and “Carry the Load” volunteer Aaron White. “And (we) walk it off, walk off that pain and really make it hurt to spread the message.”

He’s been with the organization since the beginning when they started with about 200 attendees.

“Now there’s going to be 12,000 to 15,000 people out here today, so it’s pretty incredible to see,” says White. “What started as a way to restore the true meaning of Memorial Day ended up morphing into what it is now, which is, we provide active ways for people to honor heroes.”

People are honoring those heroes by carrying the load at the Dallas Memorial March. It kicked off with music and opening ceremonies which highlighted key speakers and an original song by a Dallas Police Officer.

“It`s awesome to see the love and support there is out here,” says Valerie Zamarripa, who’s carrying the load of her son, fallen DPD  officer and veteran, Patrick. “So many people, we just didn`t even realize how much Memorial Day means to them also and that’s what it’s about, remembering what Memorial Day is,” she said.

“What can I say?” Zamarripa continued. “He’s my son. He went to the Navy in 2001 and after he came home he stayed in the Navy Reserve and went on to be a DPD police officer which ultimately took his life on July 7, 2016, in Dallas.”