this year I had the opportunity to do something entirely different to commemorate memorial day and honor the service men and women of this great country. Carry the Load is a non-profit dedicated to restoring the true meaning of memorial day. Carry the Load provides active ways to honor the countless military, law enforcement, firefighters, and rescue personnel who dedicate their lives to keeping our country safe. the specific event that I participated in was the carry the load relay, a bi-coastal relay event throughout the month of may leading up to Memorial Day.
there are quite a few retired service members on my work team and that’s how I found out about this cause. we joined together to form the atlanta relay team from piedmont heights to buckhead, a 5.5 mile walk. we carried three flags during our walk: the American flag, the POW MIA flag, and the Carry the Load flag. some of us added weight to our backpacks to signify carrying the load of friends lost in combat. what compelled me to sign up and donate for the cause, other than to support my colleagues, was the story of how Carry the Load started…
former Navy SEAL and war veteran Clint Bruce sat at a barbecue on Memorial Day. as he thought about the friends he lost in combat, he couldn’t help but notice that the people around him had a very different view of what Memorial Day meant. to some it was a party. to others, a day off of work. not knowing what else to do, Clint came up with a way to honor his fallen brethren, and share in the pain that they went through to give us our freedom. he decided to do what he did most when he was protecting our country alongside the buddies he lost. walk.
Clint strapped on his pack and began walking, all the while thinking about the people that sacrificed. as he walked, he encountered another veteran, an older gentleman who knew exactly why, and exactly what Bruce was doing without either of them speaking a word. with understanding and wisdom the man simply said, “Son, who are you carrying?” and with those five words, Carry The Load was born.
I should mention that it was totally free to be a part of our 5.5 mile walk. so many philanthropies raise money by charging an entry fee or ticket price, while I have no issue with that – this just means that the Carry the Load walk is even more inclusive for people to participate in. give what you can, be it the 5.5 miles of reflection and raising awareness or money. it’s all about recognizing the intent of Memorial Day.
the mission of Carry the Load is to motivate 1,000,000 people to observe and participate in Memorial May and assist 100,000 heroes and their families by 2020. make sure to mark Memorial May in your calendar next year and register for an event near you.