Carry The Load is partnering with VA’s national cemeteries to honor and remember America’s heroes during Memorial May, the third year in a row.

Carry The Load provides an active way to honor and remember the fallen. During visits across the nation, people can join to hike or bike alongside members. This connects Americans to the sacrifices made by military members, Veterans, first responders and their families. Participants many times carry a paper affixed to their back or backpack, highlighting a fallen hero. This shows who they honor by “carrying the load.”

The Carry The Load team stopped at Culpeper National Cemetery in Virginia May 10. The group was part of the East Coast relay team that started in West Point, New York. One of the team members was Andrew DeLeon, a Marine Corps Veteran who is a current Air Force Reservist and firefighter in Dallas, Texas. He said the relay hits home because he’s lost teammates both in the military and as a firefighter.

“Our mission is to raise awareness across America to bring back the true meaning of Memorial Day,” DeLeon said. “We are honored to be here at one of the national cemeteries. I, along with my fellow teammates, are just trying to pay back, even if it’s just a small piece of appreciation for those that laid down their lives.”

The Culpeper National Cemetery director, an Army Veteran, said the partnership is mutually beneficial by honoring the fallen.

“Carry The Load events enhance the true meaning of the National Cemetery Administration by bringing even more awareness to the sacrifices made by our nation’s heroes,” Jason Hogan said. “Seeing a giant American flag through Culpeper and being a Veteran myself, it gives me a great sense of pride of the millions of people who have sacrificed for this great nation.”

Want to participate?Click here to learn more about the Coast Guard Auxiliary

The partnership started April 29 and runs through Memorial Day weekend. Carry The Load marchers will visit 43 national cemeteries in all.

Carry The Load invites people to hike or bike alongside them. Upcoming dates include national cemeteries in the following states:

East – North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and Arkansas

Midwest – Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas

West – California, Arizona, Texas

Mountain – South Dakota, Montana, Colorado, Oklahoma

In keeping with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19, people wishing to participate in different legs of the Carry The Load march should register in advance at www.carrytheload.org.

Upon registering, participants can participate several ways. People can host a Carry It Anywhere experience, organize a youth Carry The Flag activity, walk in the National Relay, attend a City Rally, or take part virtually throughout the 32-day event.

The event ends May 31 in Dallas, Texas.

 

Cemetery guidelines

While visiting any VA national cemetery, participants should wear face masks and exercise social distancing. Gatherings at national cemeteries will also be subject to size limits.

The list of national cemeteries participating is at https://www.cem.va.gov/docs/National_Cemeteries_along_CTL_Relay_in_2021.pdf.

By Air Force Veteran Adam Stump is a member of VA's Digital Media Engagement team.

Share this story

Published on May. 12, 2021

Estimated reading time is 2.6 min.

Views to date: 1,080

2 Comments

  1. MICHAEL BENCIC May 25, 2021 at 7:42 pm

    God Bless all those who Served, Supported, Sacrificed. Our country owes you its Debt of Gratitude, Respect, Honor.

  2. Thomas E Hundley Sr May 16, 2021 at 11:15 pm

    Vietnam Vets are dying out quickly. Yet VA will not honor Congress’ requirement that three diseases be added to the Agent Orange presumptive list: Parkinsonism, bladder cancer, and hypothyroidism has been identified as Agent Orange related yet VA said it will be two years before they start to recognize it per Congress’s mandate. WHY?

    Do you know how many Vietnam Veterans will die from those three diseases without benefits for them in those TWO YEARS?

    Does VA even care?

    I filed last month and VA denied my claim stating that the thyroid disease wasn’t presumptive. WOW. But my claim is in and Nehmer applies.

Comments are closed.

More Stories

  • The PACT Act will help VA provide health care and benefits to millions of toxic-exposed Veterans and their survivors. Veterans have already begun to apply for the benefits.

  • Here are the most asked questions and answers about Long COVID. Also, a list of many of the symptoms. Use this list to tell your clinician or care team.

  • Check in for your appointments using your smartphone allows you to practice physical distancing while offering ease and convenience.