May 27 2019
Melissa Harrison | NBCDFW
Over 30,000 Carry the Load volunteers walked day and night over Memorial Day weekend in honor of our nation's heroes.
"It's just amazing how everyone comes together to honor our fallen, one celebration, it's not about barbecues, it's about remembering who gave their lives for us," said Tammie Valeski with Patriot PAWS.
Men, women and children carried posters with the names of the service members who made the ultimate sacrifice.
"You can feel the spirit, there is a spirit here that's driving this and that makes it so special," said Hershel "Woody" Williams, a World War II veteran and Medal of Honor recipient.
He shared this message with future generations.
"We must never forget those who sacrificed so that we could be who we are, do what we do, and live in the greatest country on the face of the earth," Williams said.
Carry the Load started out as a mission to restore the true meaning of Memorial Day, but now brings Americans together year-round to honor our nation's heroes. The name signifies that volunteers are "carrying the load" of those who've gone before them who paved the way for the freedom we enjoy today.
"We don't just carry their sacrifice, we carry their memory as well," said Alison Ramirez, with Carry the Load.
Several parents bring their children to the event year after year to teach them the true meaning of Memorial Day.
"There's a reason why we bring them out here, so they know what it's all about. They know about some of the people we have lost. They're not like every other kid on a holiday weekend at a barbecue or swimming pool, they're out here walking," Marine Michael Carnell said. "They understand it and are paying it forward. You've got to teach them while they're young."
So far, Carry the Load has raised more than $21 million to care for military veterans, first responders and their families.