Throughout the month of May, SDIA Teams & Chapters have prepared for Memorial Day – a day for our nation to remember the men and women of the US military who have given their lives defending our country and freedoms. Indeed, our freedom is NOT free…it has come with a heavy price, and we honor those lost by participating in various events throughout the month.

May begins with our Teams & Chapters electing to participate in Carry The Load’s Rallies and East Coast Relay by walking 5-mile ‘legs’ of the 2,100-mile relay route from West Point Cemetery in New York to the Memorial March at Reverchon Park in Dallas, Texas, on Memorial Day weekend. The Relay operates 24 hours a day, handing off the American flag every 5 miles, and reminds people of the true meaning of Memorial Day – to honor our nation’s fallen heroes. Participants are encouraged to “carry the load” – a weighted backpack – with names and images of those lost on their packs to show support for our fallen and the families they left behind. Walking in the Relay gives participants a small sense of the grit shown by our military veterans, and provides time to honor and remember their sacrifices. (View more photos on our Facebook pages: Sheep Dog IA National page, NorthTX Chapter, Central AR Chapter, Western NC Chapter.)

On the Saturday before Memorial Day, SDIA members meet at national cemeteries across the US to place a flag at each veteran’s grave. This show of respect and honor is moving for all our volunteers, many of whom know someone who died while serving. Sharing these moments with fellow Sheep Dogs is a somber and reflective time for everyone involved.

Memorial Day weekend finds SDIA members working alongside CTL in the Mess Hall feeding marchers as they arrive at the 20-hour Dallas Memorial March. This year more than 1,000 marchers converged on Reverchon Park for this final event. As a 2018 CTL Nonprofit Partners, SDIA is honored and humbled to be part of these patriotic events. We will never forget their sacrifices, for they are our Sheep Dog brothers and sisters.

We would love to have you join us in our mission to engage, assist and empower our nation’s military veterans and first responders by helping them #GetOffTheCouch. Become a member or volunteer, and sign up to receive our newsletter (bottom right of this page)!