Step by step, current and veteran service men and women honored those who served and sacrificed for our nation. This year marks seven years since the first Carry The Load tribute began in Dallas.
Carry the Load is a nationwide march in memory of those who've fallen fighting for our freedom. It culminates in Dallas on Memorial Day weekend and is as much about pain as it is patriotism.
Army Combat Veteran Captain Glen Dare carried the names of five friends that died in battle.
"Memorial Day is just to one day a year. But for Gold Star families, every day is Memorial Day. And coming out here and talking to them is a little bit of a cathartic release,” he said. "These individuals, they had families. They had kids, and they didn't make it home and I did. So I struggled with that a little bit. It's called survivor's guilt."
But through the pain of remembering comes healing, understanding, and acceptance.
Marine Corps Combat Veteran Jacob Schick shared his personal struggles after losing friends and being blown up by an IED himself.
"This is always a somber day because you have that mental Rolodex of guys you want to be out here with," he said. “It's ok not to be okay. Everybody's fighting something. Everybody.”
Schick is a board member of 22 Kill, a nonprofit trying to bring awareness to the epidemic of veteran suicides. Twenty-two veterans every day kill themselves. And Schick says without help, he would've been one of them.
"Physical pain will remind you that you're alive,” he said. “But the mental pain will test your will to stay that way."
Schick now gives back.
"Help them to avoid fighting these mental demons that I've had to fight because I try to fight it myself for a long time, and I failed every time,” he said.
The event has something for everyone, even Schick's 6-year-old son.
"My son said, ‘Daddy, I want to go walk, and why are they walking?’ And for me to be able to explain to him why they're walking. I said, ‘You know, they're walking to honor daddy's friends,” Schick recalled. “Then he got it! And it was huge! Great parenting moment for me!"