#CarryTheLoad: Spreading the true meaning of Memorial Day in S.A. and cross country

KENS 5 followed the first Carry The Load West Coast Relay group through Texas.

On April 27, the western relay of Carry The Load kicked off in Seattle, marching and cycling across the country.

Along the way, the group spread the message behind the true meaning of Memorial Day to Texas and the San Antonio area.

"It is such an important holiday that not everyone is celebrating correctly. We want to get mindsets away from barbecues and mattress sales, but to remember the people that have given their lives to protect our country," said Carry The Load West Coast Relay executive producer Matt Fryman.

Carry the Load: Marching through West Texas

Carry The Load started in 2011 with about a 20-hour walking event in Dallas, then expanded the next year to include the national relay with the East Coast route.

This year, the West Coast route was added, where participants reached thousands more people in each state.

Carry The Load's tagline is 'Who are you carrying?' Many participants walk or bike in honor of a service member.

RELATED: HOW TO HELP -- 'Carry the Load' to honor those who serve us all

"I'm carrying my father and my grandfather,” one Carry The Load participant said. “Both were in the United States Air Force, [and both are] deceased."

Supporters of those biking and marching came out to give the relay team a boost throughout the journey and to let them know supporters were behind them every step of the way.

It's the stories that leave even the toughest volunteers in awe.

After all, five miles, or a couple of hours on foot, is a lot of time to tell your story.


"When you talk about Carry The Load and what we're trying to do, it's just a feeling. I'll honestly say that it comes over me in waves every time I'm out here doing this. I feel like I understand more and more why I'm out here every day. It's something that I can't really put into words," one volunteer said.

KENS 5 followed Carry The Load across Texas. The core group traveling across the country walked and biked in shifts as others joined.

That includes making stops in West Texas, San Angelo, Bexar County, San Antonio and the Dallas finale.

Volunteers said law enforcement officials and first responders supported them during their cross-country journey. The West Coast group's bus is even decorated with patches different agencies gave them along the way.

"I think, a lot of times, [people] forget. It's a day off work. They go out and enjoy time with the family, but as far as the important thing about remembering the military and why we call it Memorial Day, I think they've lost the whole big picture," said Jimmy Hogdedda of San Angelo.

Carry the Load moves on from San Antonio

Carry The Load hosted a four mile walk in San Antonio on May 22 and invited others to join the cause through downtown. Supporters then continued to New Braunfels and headed toward Dallas.

The East and West Coast groups convened in Dallas for Memorial Day weekend, keeping with the organization's tradition.


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