How You Can Help Take Back Memorial Day

US Flag 3 SC How You Can Help take back Memorial Day

This Memorial Day, many Americans will hit the lake, light up the grill, or take a family drive to enjoy the good life so many of our soldiers have fought for and died to preserve.

This year, however, thousands from across the nation and here in Texas will sacrifice their own personal comfort by taking up a challenge to remember our wounded and fallen servicemen. Throughout the month of May, they will “carry a load” by walking along five-mile stretches from New York to Texas to raise support for several worthy veterans’ causes and help reclaim the Memorial Day holiday.

The Carry the Load National Relay, co-founded last year in Dallas by former Navy SEAL Clint Bruce, consists of 350 five-mile segments covering 1,700 miles. This year’s relay began May 1 at West Point, N.Y. and is scheduled to end in Dallas May 27-28.

The goal, according to event organizers, is “to carry the load for others, to carry more than you think you can, further than you think you can.” And they hope that this year, 500,000 will answer that call by taking either a minutes-long walk or a 20-hour, overnight trek.

Since this is an event open to all ages and abilities, participants are allowed to simply take a short stroll with a few items in hand – such as a photo of a fallen hero or an American flag. But others will “ruck it” with a heavy field pack for the full 20 hours.

My longtime friend B.J. Bjorklund is determined to hike overnight for the whole 20 hours in Dallas. He will carry with him the names of his fallen classmates – nine U.S. Air Force Academy classmates who lost their lives during the Vietnam War – as well as his generous sponsors.

B.J. wrote me: “Let’s not let Memorial Day become just another day off or a day for a mattress sale.”

A major beneficiary of the Dallas relay is Heroes on the Water, founded by Jim Dolan, a fellow Air Force Academy graduate of B.J.’s. Heroes on the Water helps disabled returning vets from Iraq and Afghanistan stay active by kayaking and fishing. Another beneficiary is Tip of the Spear, which provides support for those involved in U.S. Army and Navy Special Operations and their families during times of need.

The relay also honors law enforcement officers and firefighters for the work they do in keeping us safe. Two other groups supported by the relay include the Assist the Officer Foundation, which provides counseling to ill and wounded police officers and their families, and the Friends of Dallas Fire and Rescue, which promotes fire safety.

The Dallas opening ceremony (and the official end of the national relay) begins around 3:30 p.m. Sunday, May 27, at Reverchon Park (3505 Maple Ave.). A closing ceremony is scheduled from 1 to 3 p.m. Monday, May 28, at the park. There’s no entry fee for participants or those cheering on the walkers.

What better way to give meaning to Memorial Day than to join together in remembrance of those in uniform who have carried the load for us? As a Vietnam veteran, I especially remember on Memorial Day the more than 57,000 of my fellow American soldiers who gave their lives during that war.

To sponsor a walker in this year’s relay, or learn more about the relay, visit


Tom Pauken is Commissioner Representing Employers for the Texas Workforce Commission and a Vietnam veteran.

Media Contact: Lisa Givens   512-463-8556

The Texas Workforce Commission is a state agency dedicated to helping Texas employers, workers and communities prosper economically. For details on TWC and the programs it offers in coordination with its network of local workforce development boards, call (512) 463-8556 or

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  1. David F. says:

    I'm glad there will be something Eventful this year that promotes the Fallen Heroes of all American Wars, and not just a short Video of Moochelle Oblamo saying "All this for an 'F'ing' flag"

  2. Janet Welsh says:

    How sad that not a single American found it important to post here regarding this article, "How To Take Back Memorial Day." Wow, 623,275 American lives lost just since WWI and not a single one of them is worth even a thank you and a promise that their ultimate sacrifice will not have been in vain.

    This Memorial Day is especially important because we see our freedom and sovereignty disappearing at an alarming rate. If Obama gets another 4 years, there will be no more America. No sense crying then folks, it will be too little, too late.

    I am extremely grateful to every soldier who ever served and fought for my freedom and that of my children. It doesn't matter if they fought in a foreign land or served here in this country, whether they were black, white, red or yellow, catholic, jewish, muslim, mormon or aetheist and it doesn't matter whether they are dead or still alive, they ALL have my deepest respect and gratitude. On Memorial Day, today and everyday I remember them and pray for them. God Bless America and God Bless our Military Heroes.

    • Richard says:

      I belong to an organization that still holds the memory of our fallen heroes dear. It's the Pierce County (WA) Republican Party. Even though we're in the heart of lib-land, the gathering at War Memorial Park keeps growing every year thanks to the efforts of an elderly lady who organizes the event every year. The park itself was largely her responsibility and it's a beautiful addition to the Tacoma Metro parks system.


  4. Israel Fajardo says:

    The best way to Honor those who have sacrificed for this nation, is to call for Obama’s immediate impeachment.

  5. I put up a new flag today to show are soldiers my family cares and respects them for all they do to keep us safe and free I pray for them everyday and there familys god bless them and keep them safe and God bless America

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