Help Carry the Load to honor our military heroes this Memorial Day

by Jason Porter - President, Public Sector and FirstNet Program at AT&T

Every year on Memorial Day, we as a nation take time to remember our fallen U.S. military who have lost their lives in service to our country. That ultimate sacrifice lives on through the veterans, military families, and loved ones in every state. And throughout the month of May, many of these people will carry that burden with them on a 20,000-mile relay.

Dedicated to the memory of our fallen heroes, Carry the Load is a 32-day nationwide relay where participants walk and bike throughout 5 major routes within 48 states. They pass through countless cities and communities.  And local groups plan “Rally Events” throughout 90 locations, with all efforts focused on gathering and remembering those we’ve lost. Carry the Load inspires Americans to recognize those who serve in a journey that upholds the true meaning of Memorial Day.

This remembrance is extremely personal to me.  Fourteen of my West Point classmates made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan.  As I walk in Dallas this year, I will carry Capt. Phil Esposito with me.  Phil was a classmate. And we both commanded Cadet Company H2 in successive semesters. He paid the ultimate sacrifice on June 7, 2005, in Iraq.  It is an honor to carry Phil, the rest of my classmates and all our country’s heroes as we Carry the Load.

Since its founding in 2011, Carry the Load has grown to an organization dedicated to the sacrifice of our military, veterans, first responders and their families. Its original mission was to bring back remembrance to Memorial Day. And AT&T has been a proud sponsor since 2013, raising awareness to ensure our veterans and their families receive services they need. These include scholarships, job placement, counseling, adaptive training, and suicide prevention.

We honor the fallen by continuing to support our veterans through critical health and wellness initiatives. And we are dedicated to the health and well-being of our veterans and public safety community. Through our work with FirstNet®, Built with AT&T, we:

  • Provide services like the ROG the Dog therapy program for public safety agencies

  • And support organizations like Boulder Crest and O2X, which provide health and wellness training to military and first responders,

Carry the Load shares our mission. And it’s dedicated to providing healing services for both the body and the mind.

Join the relay by walking or cycling on any leg of journey, which ends on Memorial Day in Dallas. We hand off the American Flag every 5 miles to share that remembrance and in support of our countrymen. So far this year, our colleagues at AT&T have already created 46 teams to join the relay.

If you are interested in Carry the Load, follow our progress throughout the month or sign up to participate in a city near you.

As the relays continue and we move towards Memorial Day, take time to remember those who fought for our country. We must never forget these sacrifices.

Here’s how you can support the cause:

  • Sign up for an event and invite your family, friends and colleagues to join you.
  • Donate to an AT&T Team that has signed up or create your own team
  • Share your experiences and stories on social, or follow at #CarrytheLoad, #AttVeteransERG, & #FirstNet