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Restoring the meaning of Memorial Day

Carry the Load is a national organization dedicated to making Memorial Day about fallen heroes

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Today we are taking time to recognize the heroes in our nation who keep us safe. It includes members of the military, police, firefighters, and countless others who give so much every day.

13 ON YOUR SIDE and our parent company, TEGNA is working with the national organization Carry the Load. It was started in 2011 as part of an effort to put the true meaning back into Memorial Day. The holiday is a time for Americans to pause and remember those who have sacrificed for our nation.

Each year Carry the Load holds relays across the country to draw attention to their mission. Last year Paul Schecklman, a firefighter and paramedic from Madison, Wisconsin, participated in the relay that passed through West Michigan.  He met up with many people along the way and spent time at the Grand Rapids Fire Department.

Because of COVID-19, this year’s event is a virtual relay that will allow people to participate all month long. “Instead of a single day event, we’re trying to make it a true month-long one,” Schecklman said.

In doing so people are encouraged to do something every day to honor our heroes. Ideas include walking, cycling, or teaching a child a patriotic lesson. “That's really the best thing you can do,” said Schecklman.

The organization is also asking for donations to support the many programs that benefit members of the military, first responders, and their families. The money is used to help fund mental and physical health services as well as scholarships for children of fallen heroes. If you would like to help you can find more information on the Carry The Load website.

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