May 13, 2018 – Carry the Load is coming through Dunlap Thursday, May 17, on its way to Dallas, Tex.
Carry the Load is an annual commemoration of those who have suffered and died in defense of this country – whether in the military or in civilian service through the fire and police departments. It is a crosscountry trek by volunteers that terminates in Texas on Memorial Day, which this year is being celebrated May 28.
“Carry The Load is a non-profit dedicated to providing active, meaningful ways to honor and celebrate the sacrifices made by our nation’s heroes — military veterans, law enforcement, firefighters and first responders,” the event's website states.
“Founded in 2011 by two veteran Navy SEALs, Carry The Load began as a 20-hour and 11-minute Memorial March in Dallas, Tex.. In 2012, it expanded to include an East Coast Relay, walking from West Point, N.Y., to Dallas, throughout the month of May. The relay leg captains walk in 5-mile increments carrying the American flag to bring awareness to the sacrifices of our nation’s heroes.
"In 2016, Carry The Load expanded once again by adding a West Coast route from Seattle, Wash., to Dallas, Tex., to help engage Americans throughout the country.”
According to the current schedule, the crosscountry hike is expected to come through Dunlap at about 6 p.m. CDT. Anyone who wants to join in is invited to walk with them through town.
Sequatchie County Sheriff's Department spokesman Jason Harvey pointed out that the high school's honors awards are scheduled for the same time that night, which poses a conflict.
“We realize it's a busy night that night,” he said, “but we'd like everybody to come out and show their support. You can walk with them in memory of somebody you know.”
Walking and biking, the Carry the Load team will come down US 127 from Signal Mountain around 5:45-6 p.m. Thursday and stop at Tractor Supply Company for an hour. Then they will walk from Tractor Supply up Rankin Avenue, turning left on Fredonia Road for a stop at the Sequatchie County Justice Center.
There they will rest, shower, and eat a meal catered by The Cookie Jar, before heading up Tram Trail to TN 111.
A volunteer will go up Cagle Mountain on a bicycle, followed by the Carry the Load bus, and so on toward McMinnville.
Walking with Carry the Load is something anyone can do, Harvey pointed out, and it gives a tangible meaning to Memorial Day, when America honors her fallen.