Those words came from Clint Bruce, Co-Founder of Carry the Load. They are impactful and to the point. And they pack at wallop. So what is Carry the Load and what is its significance to Memorial Day?
|CARRY THE LOAD|
This year the group began with a 2,000 mile relay that began at West Point, New York on May 1st and will conclude with the annual 20-hour walk in Dallas. The National Relay was broken into 348 legs along its journey to Texas. Each leg represents an opportunity for some group to honor a selected individual or individuals. The Dallas walk began at 4 p.m. yesterday and concludes today (Monday).
|One leg of the National Relay comes into view for the pass off.....|
"A lot of people have taken away from the tradition, you know, just to sit on lake and drink beer and barbecue", he said. "I think you have to go back to something like this walk to realize the importance of what the Day is about".
Marine Staff Sgt. Jacob McCormack carries a flag with the names of Marines he deployed with to Iraq in 2005. Two were killed. On his backpack are pictures of the five Marines killed when he went back in 2006. He and his team were walking at 4 a.m. as I posted this story.....making each step along the way count. His thoughts on the marathon summed up so, so much to the event. "It's important to us, and there's nothing like a little bit of pain and suffering to make you remember and never forget what those guys sacrificed for us", said McCormack. For more information on Carry the Load go to http://carrytheload.org/splash/
My best guess is that this event is going to grow in its numbers......and here's hoping those figures are off the chart.......and then there is the Freedom Rock. Here's what I wrote about in October of last year.
"It's only thirty some miles from where I live. Hardly a long trek. That's why it's hard to comprehend any reasons its taken me so long to get there. But last weekend I finally did.
It weighs some 56 tons and is roughly 12 feet tall. It's about a mile and a half off of Interstate 80 at exit 86 (about 35 miles from Des Moines) among the cornfields of Iowa. And it's one huge, huge focal point for what our troops preserve for us each and every day. Freedom. And appropriately it's called by that same name, Freedom Rock.
For years, the rock served as a graffiti piece. Something vandals used to pen their mindless dribble and sayings. That was until 1999 when a nineteen year-old from nearby Greenfield by the name of Ray "Bubba" Sorensen came to the rescue".
"It was around Memorial Day when I was driving past the rock when I wondered what it would be like if I actually took the time to go out there and paint it. And so I painted it with the flag raising from Iwo Jima. I got a huge response from it that I kept painting it. And I've been painting it with tributes to Veterans on Memorial Day".
Thirteen years later, Sorensen's still at it. He usually begins his process each year by putting scenes on a blank canvas. And then the process begins. Each side of the rock save one has a coat of white paint and awaits a new theme".
And then I found out about this nugget, one, I hadn't seen anywhere. This Spring, Sorensen began the Freedom Rock Tour with a goal to paint a rock in every county in Iowa....99 in all, creating a unique statewide veterans memorial for the state. How cool is that??
|A Sorensen Masterpiece....Again|