Carry the Load remembers, honors veterans

Thursday, May 27, 2021
Ed and Charlene Saunders (middle and left) lead the way for the Carry the Load walk to the Yellowstone National Cemetery last Thursday. The Dallas–based non–profit travels the country in a bus to honor fallen veterans around Memorial Day. Outlook photos by Chris McConnell

Ed and Charlene Saunders (middle and left) lead the way for the Carry the Load walk to the Yellowstone National Cemetery last Thursday. The Dallas–based non–profit travels the country in a bus to honor fallen veterans around Memorial Day. Outlook photos by Chris McConnell

Ed Saunders dedicated his march to he and his wife Charlene’s late fathers, who were WWII combat veterans, as well as other family members who served.

Ed Saunders dedicated his march to he and his wife Charlene’s late fathers, who were WWII combat veterans, as well as other family members who served.

According to www.CarrytheLoad.org, the Dallas–based nonprofit Carry the Load organization began 2011 with the goal of restoring the true meaning of Memorial Day. Carry the Load buses and staff now travel America to accomplish that goal. The Mountain Route of Carry the Load travels to national cemeteries in the West, including Yellowstone National Cemetery in Laurel.

In 2021 Carry the Load took to the road and included Yellowstone National Cemetery. On May 20, the Carry the Load bus arrived in Laurel for staff and marchers to walk and climb the two-mile route to the national cemetery. The Laurel City Fire Department gave the marchers a red light and siren send off.

Carry the Load staff honored Ed and Charlene Saunders by dedicating the march to Ed and Charlene’s late fathers: both WWII combat veterans of the Army and Navy respectively. The Saunders marched with the names of their fathers and other family on an official Carry the Load panel.

The raw and windy Montana afternoon did not dim the enthusiasm and dedication of the marchers. Steve McCullom, manager, Yellowstone National Cemetery, met the marchers at the cemetery’s flag pole. McCullom welcomed the marchers and gave the history of the cemetery. He also led the marchers on a cemetery tour showing notable people interred in final honors. Carry the Load thanks to Mr. McCullom, and the National Cemetery Administration of the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs for this.

Throughout the march, the ornate Carry the Load bus ensured citizens knew about the march.

After farewells at Yellowstone National Cemetery, Carry the Load staff and bus went west along their mountain route. They plan on returning in 2022 to again honor those at rest in Yellowstone National Cemetery.

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Monday, June 28, 2021
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Monday, June 28, 2021
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