DALLAS - Thousands of people in Dallas marched to honor their fallen heroes at the annual Carry the Load event.
Carry the Load commemorates those who lost their lives in the line of duty with a march through Uptown Dallas during Memorial Day weekend.
The roughly 20-hour march starts and ends at Reverchon Park and goes along the Katy Trail.
“We’re honored for every single person that’s a part of this,” Marine Corps veteran Don Nguyen said.
Participants come from all lines of service, like Nguyen, retired Dallas firefighter Milton Williams, and FOX 4’s own Alberto Romero, who is an Air Force veteran.
“You want to celebrate their life. You don’t want to dwell on the negative impacts of being killed in action or a veteran suicide. You want to honor them and their families,” Romero said.
Participants carry the load for lost friends and colleagues, who for some, were more like family to honor their memory and their service.
“I’ve got a friend named Ben Adams. I’ve got a friend named Stephen Jackel. I carry Lindsey Hartley. I carry Jonathan Compton. Unfortunately, there’s too many,” Nguyen said.
“Lt. Krodle and another guy was up on the roof cutting a hole and he fell through the roof and got trapped, lost his life,” Williams said. “I was at the fire when he lost this life, it weighed heavily on me.”
The annual event is also a form of therapy.
“I get the opportunity to take whatever pain somebody else is feeling and I load that onto my shoulder and my pack and my gear,” Williams said. “I carry that and I disperse that up and down the trail. It’s a good way to cope, but it’s also a very good way to spread their message and keep their legacy alive.”
“That’s what we’re doing here, with every step that we take, with every person that is here, with every pound that we carry, we’re honoring them,” Nguyen added.
“These people are my family. They may not be blood family, but they’re definitely family in one way or another and this is to honor them and their service,” Romero said.
The march went through Sunday night and ended with closing ceremonies Monday afternoon.