BOSSIER CITY, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – A crowd gathered Wednesday along Arthur Ray Teague Parkway in Bossier City; carrying flags, carrying memories, and carrying the load of those they’ve lost.

“We go around the country with our five relay teams, 20,000 miles, through 48 states,” said Andy Medrano, Relay Manager for Carry the Load.

Medrano explained the non-profit ‘Carry the Load’ was founded in 2011 by two Navy Seals in Dallas.

“We want everyone to remember why we have these freedoms and to remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice,” Medrano said.

Kassie Collins’ husband, Army Sergeant First Class Gary Collins, died while serving in Iraq. Collins said she finds comfort in being with those who understand her pain.

“We’ve all been through the same thing. We don’t have to talk,” said Collins. “We just can look at each other and we’re automatically family. We know. We know.”

Collins says it’s important to care for the families of all who serve the country and their communities.

“We’re not just honoring veterans,” Collins shared. “We’re honoring first responders and police officers and firefighters.”

Those from Carry the Load say the goal is to make sure Americans understand the real meaning of Memorial Day so our heroes only die once.

“The second time they die is when we stop remembering them and stop saying their names,” Medrano said. “So we don’t want that to happen.”

The national relay will end in Dallas, with a march on Memorial Day.

Carry the Load also raises money to assist military members, veterans, first responders and their families.

This year’s goal is to raise $2.25 million.