Nonprofit remembering fallen heroes, reason for Memorial Day

Carry the Load has rally walks nationwide converging in Dallas to raise awareness for the meaning behind Memorial Day

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – A nonprofit out of Dallas is on a mission to restore the true meaning of Memorial Day, through relay walks spanning the nation. Sunday, the Carry the Load New England relay team marched through Lexington.

Many people think of Memorial Day as just a long weekend marking the start of summer, but the federal holiday is to remember those who died while serving in the military. The organization Carry the Load was started by two navy seals to remind people of the real reason for the holiday, but its mission has shifted in the last five years.

“One of the founders Clint Bruce saying ‘I couldn’t go and do my job overseas without knowing that there were people here willing to sacrifice for my family’,” says Smitty Searles, New England relay manager. “It really made it not just about Memorial Day but Memorial May, where we honor the sacrifices of military, of course, but also the other sacrificial services- police, fire, first responders.”

The New England relay team started their march 12 days ago in Burlington, Vermont and they’ll be walking 20,000 total miles to Dallas, where they’ll end on Memorial Day. The team says what makes Carry the Load so special is being able to share the stories of those whose memory they’re carrying.

“I walk for Officer Ted Foss, he’s a Minnesota State Patrol Officer who was struck and killed during a routine traffic stop,” says Searles. “We’re all out there together in emergency services and that could’ve just as easily been me working an accident on the side of the highway. So, that really impacted me and I’m proud to be able to carry Ted Foss as I walk my way to Dallas.”

Carry the Load says, to them, people die twice, once when their soul leaves their body and a second when they are forgotten. The organization says it walks to make sure those sacrifices are never forgotten.

“Everybody who’s lost someone, that family, the only thing they can do is get up in the morning and put one foot in front of the other, how can we do any less?” says Searles.

For more information on ways to get involved or rallies near you, visit the Carry the Load website at the link HERE or visit the organization’s Facebook page, linked HERE.

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