DALLAS - Thousands of people in Dallas joined the Carry the Load march downtown in honor of fallen soldiers.
Many in attendance had family or friends they were walking for, but the event is as much for the general public as it is for service members.
It's was chance to literally carry their load. Walk with them, carry their gear and hear their stories.
“I lost a lot of friends that didn't get to come home,” said Aaron White.
Each person walking at Carry the Load in Dallas Memorial Day weekend carries with them the story of a service member killed in action.
“It's just one day. It's just one day to give for the loss of so many, and that to me is the spirit of freedom of this country is to take that time and march and learn a little bit about the people who gave their lives,” said Dan Lombardo.
Terry Burgess is carrying his son, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Brian Burgess of Cleburne. He was killed in a Taliban firefight; Operation Strong Eagle 3 in Afghanistan.
“People see the names and they see Brian's name and they see his shoes. They stop and they ask and they talk about it and they want to know his story,” said Terry Burgess.
“On March 29, 2011, Memorial Day changed forever for us. It was no longer just the barbeques or going to the national cemetery and putting out flags. It was, it's almost indescribable what it feels like now,” said Burgess.
Retired Army Major Tamayra Stell is carrying Specialist Dustin Jackson, an Arlington native, from her unit out of Grand Prairie.
“We were hit. Our unit was hit and he lost his life with about five other soldiers,” she said.
The military vehicle he was in in Iraq came under in fire. He was one of six soldiers killed. It's been ten years.
“Just let him know we have not forgotten. We have not forgotten” said Stell.
“This is important for Americans to understand: freedom is not free. There's a price for it,” said Dan Lombardo.
It's a price many people walking are still paying in the pain of losing a fellow soldier or loved one.
“A lot of these people carry a lot of weight. A lot of weight,” said Burgess, “and Memorial Day makes it lighter.”
The Carry the Load walk finishes at 3 o'clock Monday afternoon to observe the national moment of remembrance, a moment of national unity to pause and remember those who have given their lives for our country.
Anyone can join the walk Monday morning and afternoon on the Katy Trail. There is no need to sign up or register.