The 2019 Carry The Load National Relay will be held from 25 April to 26 May 2019 at various locations throughout the United States. Carry The Load is a 501(c)3 organization co-founded by two Navy SEAL Veterans who wanted to restore the true meaning of Memorial Day. Carry The Load is dedicated to providing active, meaningful ways to honor and celebrate the sacrifices made by our nation’s heroes — military, veterans, first responders, and their families. What started as a mission to restore the true meaning of Memorial Day has broadened to include more than just our military heroes and more than just the one holiday. Carry The Load works to bring all Americans together to participate in honoring our nation’s heroes every day. The Carry The Load relay team will travel across the country during the month of May to provide an active way to connect Americans to the sacrifices of those who have served.
Carry The Load began in 2011 with a 20-hour and 11-minute Memorial March in Dallas, Texas, then expanded in 2012 to include an East Coast route of a National Relay. In 2016, Carry The Load expanded once more by adding a West Coast route for Seattle to Dallas, with both courses culminating in Dallas over Memorial Day weekend. Carry The Load has grown in participation each year. Since 2011, more than 75,000 Americans have participated and helped raise more than $21 million. 93.14% of the funds raised go towards the three programs of Awareness, Continuum of Care, and Education. Based on the number of rallies, local events, and sponsors to date, Carry The Load is expecting to continue its growth and expand across the Midwest in 2019.
Three routes will be followed by walkers and cyclists across the country handing off the American flag every 5 miles for 32 consecutive days. More than 11,500 miles will be covered, providing a chance to get out the message about honoring our nation’s heroes. Families, friends, and strangers alike are able to walk these 5 miles and roughly two hours together during the Relay sharing stories as well as hearing stories of loved ones who have sacrificed for this country. This, in turn, ensures that the legacies and memories of our nation’s heroes never fade. Some participants also choose to carry packs with weight in them or pictures of loved ones attached thus signifying their response to the question Carry The Load asks, “Who Are You Carrying?”
Twenty-seven National Cemeteries will be included into the routes as walkers and cyclists travel towards Dallas, TX. A select number of these cemeteries will serve as exchange points for the National Relay where participants will gather to both begin and end relay segments. In addition to the opportunity to walk through the cemeteries, these locations will be the site of community events at which local first responders, veterans, and local organizations such as the Patriot Guard will be invited to be involved in the walk and ceremonies honoring our nation’s heroes.