SAN ANTONIO - Carry The Load is nationwide movement to restore the true meaning of Memorial Day and do away with all the cookouts and retail sales taking over the holiday.
Carry the Load is working to honor the fallen not just on Memorial Day, but within what they call "Memorial May."
"Not a whole lot of people understand what Memorial Day is all about, and this is a great opportunity to educate the community in which we serve," said Carry the Load participant Peyton Starr.
"What really matters is you come into a town like San Antonio and people are honking as we're talking right now, people are cheering, and people are joining us for these walks. That lifts us," Carry the Load spokesman Travis Mann said.
What started as a small group walking the east coast in 2011 is now a taking over America.
"We're growing from being a Memorial Day celebration to the Memorial May celebration, to all year long," Mann said. "Why not? There's always time to honor those who have given so much, sacrificed so much for us and the way we live our lives."
Each person is "carrying the load" metaphorically, easing the burden for families of the fallen.
"I'm a veteran of Desert Storm and I'm walking today, carrying the load for all the folks from the 2nd Army Division that lost their lives," Starr said.
"Your legs get tired and your feet get sore, but you start thinking about, ‘What were my friends doing? What was going through their minds when they were sacrificing and giving everything, their whole life?’ And it kind of makes it pale in comparison," Mann said.
Now, the mission has expanded.
Walkers and bikers will "carry" anyone: a first-responder, a firefighter, or active duty military to relieve them of their burdens, even for just a moment.
"It's just my gear for our annual training this year, 32 pounds," said Carry the Load participant Daniel Quigley, describing the backpack he wore during the relay. "I'm carrying all the people from my unit right now, a couple of guys that can't really serve anymore. I'm carrying for them."
Quigley’s unit is the 217th Transportation Company out of JBSA Fort Sam Houston.
KENS 5's Jeff Brady emceed a Carry the Load rally at Toyota Field on Wednesday evening. Upwards of 50 participants marched, ready to take off once again to the Gold's Gym off Pat Booker in Live Oak to continue the 4,100-mile trek across the west coast.
From Live Oak, the relay heads to Schertz and New Braunfels.
The east coast and west coast relays will meet in Dallas on Memorial Day. A total of 25,000 people are expected to be there.
Carry The Load raises funds to be distributed to non-profit partners who provide direct services to our nation’s heroes and their families. They also educate our youth on the history of our American flag and the sacrifices made to honor it.
For more information, visit www.carrytheload.org.
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