For some, the true meaning of Memorial Day can get lost in family gatherings and that day off from work. On Monday, members of the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office worked to make sure the true meaning wasn’t lost. Deputy Travis Hanson spent three weeks coordinating the walk from Mooresville to Statesville.
Hanson said the intent was simple — to walk and perhaps struggle to remind others of the men and women Memorial Day represents. The 17.2-mile Carry the Load walk, with a sheriff’s escort when traffic could be an issue, led to honks and waves from some passersby.
For Hanson, it was a bit more personal. Monday — his one-year anniversary with the department — was especially personal for Hanson. A member of the Marine Corps, he served for 22 years and as a contractor. He was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan on multiple occasions.
“I’ve got a lot of Marines whose children don’t know them. To me it’s important that you say names like Ronald Baum or Mark Bradley or Jason Ramsyaur or Patrick Price. It’s really important that their names are still said. They were 18 to 30 years old and some of them have been gone for 10 years. People forget about them and I try not to.”
After the grueling walk, as the group milled about at the Sheriff’s Office and dropped their backpacks, Hanson also took a brief lighter moment concerning getting others to join him on the walk. “Who wouldn’t want to be miserable for six or seven hours,” he said as he stood in the misty rain after his walk.
On a more serious note, he saw the benefits of both raising awareness and helping his group grow together. “If in the meantime people that I work with, we can suffer a little bit and build some camaraderie, then I’m all about it.”
As the deputies heaved off their gear in the Sheriff’s Office parking lot, the impact of their walk was yet to be fully recognized. But for those who saw it in action, some making calls to see what it symbolized, the moving display led to thoughtful reflection — and a moment to remember.