The march to Memorial Day: VA and Carry the Load team up to honor the fallen


Ray Ramirez

May 1, 2019 – Day 7

Ramirez was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Georgia; died June 1, 2013 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, from injuries caused by an improvised explosive device.

“Ray might have been that quiet kid, but he had a big, big, giant heart,” Jose Ramirez said. “Every little boy has something they want to do, and that’s what he chose to do, and that’s where he became a
true man.”

“You never truly know how much he was loved, until now,” Hope Aguirre said, through tears. “Let’s honor the fact that he chose to give his
life for his country, the fact that he chose to give everybody else the chance to be free”.


Social Media from the National Relay


Reynaldo Leal

– Reynaldo Leal is a public affairs officer for VA’s office of Digital Media Engagement and member for the VAntage Point’s staff. He is a proud Marine Corps Veteran who deployed to the Al Anbar Province with 3rd Battalion 5th Marine Regiment in 2004 and 2006. He also took part in some of the heaviest fighting during Operation Phantom Fury in 2004.


  1. Troy Barnes    

    Joint Base San Antonio, Tx wasn’t on the list?

  2. Troy Barnes    

    Joint Base San Antonio, Tx wasn’t on the list?

  3. Gregory Beck    

    Are you all coming thru Texarkana AR-TX?

  4. Columbus L Smith Jr    

    It is obvious from the Comments that the Only Way to truly put “Memorial” back into “Memorial Day” is for the citizens of each area to express their individual Pride and Honor for those that have given so much. I learned the meaning of Memorial Day as a young Boy Scout as we honored those that had Given, with a Flag placed at their Headstone. It was a day of recognition and celebration of Freedom and for the price they paid for us to be Free. It was also My Birthday.
    The Project should be that every National Cemetery be supported by a local Arlington National Cemetery “Chapter” that would plan and encourage local participation and provide the history of those within. The Government can provide for the land, mow the grass and play Taps but the Tears, Mourning and Respect come from the relatives, loved ones and local citizens.
    I survived to Honor Those. Born May 30, 1945, Retired Naval Aviator, Commander. RFTW 2019

  5. Charles bassi    

    Thank you for thinking of our veterans that gave all. Some still live with the results of their service. All need to be remembered and thanked for their contributions to our Country. God bless you for bringing this special day to the forefront for our Nation.

  6. Sonia Marcos    

    Thank you all for raising awareness to the true meaning of Memorial.
    I’m looking forward to the unveiling at Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside May 9th at 5pm
    SMSgt Sonia Marcos

  7. John Leahy    

    How do I register? I am a regular Army soldier who works at the US Strategic Command. I really want to do the 22May cycling segments Papillion and Omaha. Who is my POC for this? I am in a couple of club that I am sure will want to support this event. I also want to circulate the information at Offutt AFB, NE. Please advise.

  8. Barbara Martinez    

    I wish you could stop in Denver,CO or any other town in Colorado. We have 5 bases in Colorado with 3 large national cemeteries.
    You are doing I great job!!

  9. Jayne Smith    

    Will they travel through Washington Crossing National Cemetery? If so, what date. I see it on the footprint map but it isn’t listed. Thank you, Jayne Smith

  10. John Ellwanger    

    Thanks, I’m interested in getting involved, what can i do! Army 68-70 ! Vietnam 69-70!!!

  11. Richard Pouch    

    What a great idea! Put Memorial back in Memorial Day. It is surely needed.

  12. Billy Gribble    

    And Reid Hamlin, as I sure you understabd, it would be impossible to visit all the military cemeteries in the U.S.

  13. Robert York    

    Why is the mountain west ignored. There are a lot of Veterans in Colorado and surrounding states, but it looks like this whole region was ignored.

  14. Norman Goldberg    

    Would have like to know about this before 5/3/19. Can’t walk the route but can ride my motorcycle if allowed except there’s no indication that’s allowed. As a disabled vet I would have liked to honor my friends who have passed.

  15. Michael John Cahalan    

    Hello is the relay going through Michigan, if so when.

    Thank You

    Mike Cahalan

  16. Larry D. Wubbena    

    How do I get info on the walk, want to walk in dallas.

  17. Mrs Diane K. Martineau    

    This is the first I have heard of this! I would have liked to participate to honor my husband and his shipmates aboard the USS Enterprise during fires & explosions on January 14, 1969, plus every single veterans that is serving or has served.

  18. Diane Crumbley    

    How do we participate?

  19. Timothy Shally    

    This is a really great idea. Therefore, knowing it will be a success and thus held for at least one more year, would you please get the word out well in advance in order to give all veterans a chance to get involved. I would love to have a chance to ride (my bike) a section of the route and “Carry The Load” as a tribute to my fellow veterans. Thanks!

  20. Tina Marie Tillert    

    Yes, I whole heartedly agree with these comments. I am an army veteran of 13 years. I have been getting these emails fron the VA the last few years, this is the first time I have ever heard about this. I live in Waco, TX. I work with Veterans every day. How come there is nothing in Texas but El Paso?

  21. Shannon Reser    

    Can anybody join the march as it comes to your area? If so how.

  22. BOURNE    

    Outstanding! I think this is an amazing thing your doing here. Thank you!!!

  23. Paul Klikas    

    Great way to keep those who served on the forefront versus being merely mentioned on Memorial Day.

  24. Richard W Hobbs    

    What about the Black Hills National Cemetery in Sturgis, SD.?

  25. John Paul Inge    

    Would have been nice to know about this sooner. I would have joined you my veteran family! Today is May 2nd; first I ever heard of this event.

    1. Peggy Perales    

      Same here. Came through town and the local VA couldn’t notify us

  26. Tammy Greene    

    Good evening, I’m a 15yr Vet living in Denver Colorado. I’m curious as to why Fort Logan National Cemetery was not included, not even in the mid west route?

  27. Ann Reid Hamlin    

    I was so disappointed when I reviewed the list. I was so hoping that the route would come to Camp Nelson National Cemetery, 6980 Danville Road, Nicholasville, KY 40356. Camp Nelson National Cemetery has over 15,000 graves and is currently burying an average of two veterans a day.

    Ann Hamlin

  28. John J Feehery    

    This is a wonderful event to remind the public and our leaders who ordered these veterans to war of their sacrifice and service.We can never forgett what they have done.So few of us have served and so few know the veteran experience.May God keep each fallen his hands and spread his graces on all who have setved.Thank you all who have served and may life be good to you

  29. Deanna Copsey    

    Is there any way we can support this if we are unable to make it for these events. Would love to get a shirt or whatever else to help out.

  30. Jeffrey Huelsbeck    

    I would like to nominate SSG Todd Cornell from Wisconsin as a future “Veteran of the Day” Todd is buried at Wood cemetary in Milwaukee. The NCO Academy at Fort McCoy is also named after Todd. Thank You for your concideration.

    Jeffrey R Huelsbeck 1SG/Retired / Todd’s escort back in 2004

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