Carry the Load for true meaning of Memorial Day

FROM STAFF REPORTS

BURNET — The significance of Memorial Day often gets lost among the sales and barbecues. While it’s OK to have fun and enjoy the day, some people believe the reason for the holiday has become trivialized to the point many Americans simply see it as the kick-off to summer.

But, on May 25 at Reveille Peak Ranch outside of Burnet, people will gather to remember those for whom the day is meant to honor: the men and women who have given their lives in service to the United States.

Carry The Load-Austin is 7 a.m.-9 p.m. at the ranch, 105 CR 114 west of Burnet. The day starts with a prayer vigil and a flag presentation.

This presentation is particularly moving because a Medal of Honor recipient will present the flag to the teenage son of a service member who died during combat in Iraq.

The event includes a dramatic demonstration by law enforcement agents at 9 a.m. This includes specialized tactical watercraft, helicopters, specialized vehicles and even repelling operations.

Last year, law enforcement teams put on a mock rescue.

But probably the most important part of the event starts about 10:30 a.m. This is when individuals and teams will head out for the 20.14-mile hike, the actual Carry the Load.

Carry the Load began when former Navy SEAL Clint Bruce was bothered by what he saw as a lack of understanding by many Americans about what Memorial Day was and what it was for. So, he shouldered his backpack and started walking one day. An older veteran noticed Bruce with the backpack and realized the former SEAL was not just out for a stroll. He asked Bruce, “Who are you carrying?” and the movement was born.

Throughout the course of the walk, many people are “carrying” someone. Some teams and individuals wear packs or even fire hoses with names of fallen friends, family members or other heroes written on them. Others simply walk as they think of those who sacrificed everything for their country.

While the course is 20.14 miles long, officials aren’t concerned if people do the entire thing. Ashley Kamrath, a spokesperson for Carry the Load, said what matters is justing showing up.

Along with remembering those who died in service, the event serves as a fundraiser for area charities that help service members, first responders and their families. The nonprofits are Serve Who Serve, Folds of Honor, Comfort Crew for Military Kids, Wish for Our Heroes and F7 (a women’s veteran organization).

Go to www.carrytheload.org for more information or to register.

editor@thepicayune.com