LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Thousands of Americans are marching around the country ahead of Memorial Day as part of the annual Carry the Load relay.
Carry the Load was founded by two Navy seals who felt like the nation had forgotten the meaning of Memorial Day. They wanted to remember and honor loved ones lost in battle. Their 22-hour remembrance walk snowballed into a movement. Ten years and more than 100,000 miles later, thousands of marchers have joined in this healing ritual to remember their own fallen heroes.
“It’s therapeutic because you get to talk to people you don’t know about things that you’ve shared together, and it’s powerful,” said Michael Garlock, assistant relay manager for the West Coast route.
Every year since 2018, Garlock has led marchers and bikers from Seattle down the coast for Carry the Load. He says he carries for his uncle, who was a Vietnam veteran and for his friend, Ryan, who was a paramedic in Washington D.C. who passed away three years ago.
Garlock joined Carry the Load because he believe all Americans should remember why Memorial Day is a national holiday.
“We have the privilege of living in a country where we have freedoms allowed to us by people who have given that ultimate sacrifice,” Garlock said. “It’s important that people make the effort and understand what Memorial Day is. It is one day out of the year that we honor them.”
Marchers carry weighted backpacks, folded America flags, banners, t-shirts, or even just a relay bib. Whatever they use to represent their loved-one, it is all tagged with the names of fallen soldiers or service members.
Beginning at the end of April, marchers travel along one of the four routes, West Coast, Mountain, East Coast and Midwest. At the end of May, they will all meet in Dallas, where the first Carry the Load relay took place, and they will march together in a 22-hour relay to celebrate our nation’s heroes on Memorial Day.