SEATTLE -- A streetside musician’s soundtrack, fresh fish piled high, and iconic cups of coffee can always be found there.
But at Seattle’s Pike Place on Wednesday, a brand new tradition took hold.
Carry The Load, a reminder of the true meaning of Memorial Day, started in 2011 as a Dallas-only event. It has since expanded to include a Boston-to-Dallas relay. And this year, for the first time, a procession has also set out from Seattle.
Now, people across the country have a way to celebrate the stories of service and sacrifice that each of them carries.
“I feel very fortunate I still have my father. He is going to me 93 years old this year, and I am very happy to be walking in his honor,” Margaret Taylor said.
At once, she is proud of her dad’s service, but also carries sorrow for those whose loved ones didn’t come home alive.
“I know my farther lost a lot of very close friends during the time he served," she said.
Margaret and company drew questions and curious looks as they trekked through downtown Seattle Wednesday.
“As a veteran, it smooths a lot of rough edges to see the interest and anticipation,” said Carry The Load Co-Founder Clint Bruce.
He says the interest he saw in Seattle Wednesday is indicative of how much patriotism and gratitude is out there.
“I just have great faith in this nation, and every year we do this, it renews and re-energizes that faith," Bruce said.
He says it’ll keep walkers, runners, and cyclists going, just imagining how many stories they’ll hear about heroes lost as they wind their way through the west.
“They start telling you the story of their uncle, brother, grandfather, or son, and you get to listen," Bruce said. "That is the whole ‘who are you carrying?' thing -- they are carrying someone, and they want to tell that story and you want to honor that memory.”
They’ve got about 4,300 miles worth of memories to go before Carry The Load converges with the Boston relay in Dallas on Memorial Day weekend.