Veterans, Families Skip the BBQ and Beer to Carry the Load Around White Rock Lake
|Photos by Leslie Minora|
|Clint Bruce, who started Carry the Load|
Bruce says when was walking around White Rock on Memorial Day about five years ago, an older veteran asked, "Hey, son, who you carrying?" This moment, he says, stuck with him and became the catalyst for this weekend's event. "Everybody carries somebody and has been carried by somebody," Bruce says.
Instead of his typical holiday of playing golf and laying by the pool, Mike Gosslee opted take the long walk to honor his father, a doctor in World War II, and grandfather, a doctor in World War I. He had his father's combat boots draped over his shoulders. His wife's son, Stephen Holley, is a former Navy SEAL and one of the event's organizers; he brought his wife, children and grandchildren. Said Gosslee, "This tells [the children] that there is a reason for the words 'Memorial Day'."
|Before his walk, Mike Gosslee stood in front of the wall where participants signed the names of those they're honoring.|
Watching his idea unfold into reality, Bruce fell in with the first wave of walkers. At the starting line, he saw a man break down. He said, "I've been carrying this load since Vietnam." Bruce said, "It's overwhelming." It would become a phrase he used often throughout the hot, windy afternoon.
The Carry the Load walk will continue until 12:11 p.m. Some people aim to walk the entire duration, others plan to do so for a short time.The event will be followed by a lunch and a closing celebration. Click here for the schedule. Proceeds from participants and donors will benefit Heroes on the Water, Joe Foss Institute, Fisher House, Assist the Officer Foundation, Dallas Firefighters Museum and White Rock Lake Conservancy.