Flag Relay highlights the true meaning of Memorial Day

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OMAHA, Neb (WOWT) Remembering the true meaning of Memorial Day and honoring our fallen heroes.

Camping World refuses to remove 40 by 80 foot American flag from Statesville, NC property, despite growing fines and threat of legal action. (Source: NBC News Channel)

That's why a ceremony at the Omaha National Cemetery today is so important.

Members of an organization called Carry the Load are biking and walking from Minneapolis, Minnesota to Dallas, Texas handing off the American flag at each veteran's cemetery along the route.

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts was a surprise guest at the cemetery today.

“The greatness of a nation is not measured by the wars that are won, but by the peace and prosperity that is gained because of those victories,” he said.”

The governor then helped unveil a commemorative plaque honoring our fallen heroes.

This field of stone markers relives the times our country called and Omahans responded…World War Two, Korea, Vietnam and the Gulf War.

They are more than names on a headstone…they are our friends, neighbors...they are us.

The veterans of those conflicts offer a silent prayer while recalling distant yet vivid memories of those lost and the cost paid. Gold Star women are also here.

“Remember memorial day,” Cindy Keyes said. “We've all lost our husbands to the military and their deaths were all service connected. So it means more to us now to have something like this and to remember more.”

The ladies were honoring their men with a simple plea for the rest of us.

“To remember Memorial Day as Memorial Day,” Terri Lehigh said. “Not for sales at Nebraska Furniture or picnics...remember the meaning of the day.”

Former Navy SEAL Cody Bandars is a Carry The Load representative.

He remembers fellow Omahans Caleb Nelson, who was killed in Afghanistan and Larry Evans who recently succumbed to Agent Orange disease.

“He found peace in that fight...two weeks ago,” Bantars said.

Two simple knapsacks commemorate their loss.

“It's emotional for me still,” Bandars said. “I mean hearing taps and the national anthem, it’s emotional for me and I think part of that is because of the way that our nation can still honor our heroes. It means the world to me that we could come through here and raise awareness.”

The flag relay is expected to be at the Lincoln fire station by 7 Wednesday night and in Dallas by Memorial Day.