GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A group walking across the country to honor military members made their way through West Michigan Wednesday.

Malique Brinson and Zaki Mohammed took in the sights and sounds of Grand Rapids as they walked uphill on Fulton Street.

“I started walking and it hurts a bit,” Brinson said. “It’s fun so far. Great to see all the places we’ve seen so far.”

The young men are members of Carry the Load, a nonprofit organization honoring military members and first responders. The pair is in the organization’s Midwest group, walking throughout the month of May from Minneapolis to Dallas.

“It’s all bringing back the meaning of Memorial Day,” said Beau York, the Midwest group’s road manager. “Exposure is what we’re really out there doing, letting people be reminded why you have that third day off.”

The group makes stops at memorials honoring veterans and at national cemeteries. News 8 caught up with the group at Veterans Memorial Park on Fulton Street in Grand Rapids.

“One of our purposes is to bring the true meaning of Memorial Day back,” Brinson said. “It feels great walking and seeing people say good job and just bringing some meaning back to it.”

Mohammed, a college student in Georgia, is taking part in the monthlong journey to honor his military family members.

“I have family in the military who have passed away and I’m also trying to join the military as well,” Mohammed said. “More of a respect thing.”

The group will walk Thursday from Lansing to Ypsilanti. The journey from the Midwest will culminate with a gathering on Memorial Day in Dallas featuring Carry the Load groups from around the country.

More information on Carry the Load and how to donate can be found online.