DALLAS - Men and women are carrying an emotional load during a cross-country relay covering 20,000 miles.
Carry the Load honors fallen United States service members and has a goal of restoring the true meaning of Memorial Day.
Beth Sundquist, a Marine veteran and retired Dallas police sargeant, is carrying names of some people she knew and some she didn’t.
"Heartfelt. Tear-jerking at times," she said.
Though they all have something in common, as their lives were cut short while serving their country.
"They always say you die two deaths. The day you die, and the day somebody forgets your name and they don’t remember their name," Sundquist said. "So I am carrying people to remember their name, so they won’t die that second death."
Carry the Load is a series of five-relay walks beginning in different areas of the country.
Some walk a few miles in their hometown as the event passes through during the month of May. Others take turns while walking in groups across the country, resting and sleeping on buses each night.
The relays end in Dallas Memorial Day weekend.
"We just want everybody to remember why this day exists," said Todd Boeding, with Carry the Load.
Many carry names and faces on their backs of loved ones killed while serving in the military.
It’s happening during a weekend in which many spend quality time with their loved ones.
"The challenge though is there are a lot of people that never have the opportunity to do that again, and those are the people that never got to take off the uniform," Boeding said. "And they did it for people like you and they did it for people like me and they didn’t even know us."
Reverchon Park is where thousands merge together as the relays finish
"The support for our military and our first responders has never been more important. Individuals that go into the darkness so that others don’t have to be afraid," Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia said.
Fundraising goes toward a number of areas, including scholarships for children of the fallen and the strengthening of veteran services, such as counseling.
It’s a comfort for veterans like Corena Mitchell, who, after coping with a traumatic 16 years in the military, nearly reached a breaking point.
"I didn’t know what to do for help," she said. "It was the first time I realized that I didn’t have to end my life in order to get the help that I needed."
"And so our job is to educate the public in that regard," Boeding added.
Organizers say the event is most important for families of the fallen.
"So that they understand the death of your loved one mattered," Boeding said.
They see the names of their loved ones living on.
[REPORTER: "About how many miles did you do?"]
"Oh, 260-plus," Sundquist said. "I wore out a brand-new pair of shoes."
And as Sundquist finishes her walk in Dallas, thousands more joined in. A celebration of respect and remembrance.
"I can carry somebody for somebody else that can’t carry themself," Sundquist said.