TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Monday morning, many paused to remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, fighting for our nation.

Dozens of people gathered in Tampa for what’s called a ruck march.

It’s a light walk or march that gathers people together, often veterans or active military, in remembrance of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

“It helps you get through the day-to-day, and it also helps you remember where you came from,” said Matthew Ayala.

Ayala served two tours in Afghanistan with the US Air Force.
For him, Memorial Day hits home.

“A lot of emotions because it does remind me of the people that you do leave behind,” he said. “But being here, surrounded by other military, other vets and vet spouses it helps you feel a little more at home.”

He and dozens of other veterans he works with at Power Home Remodeling marched four miles carrying an American flag in honor of the brave men and women who lost their lives serving our country.

“Enjoy the start of summer, but ultimately, let’s make sure we start the day with remembrance,” said Power Home Remodeling Military Affairs Coordinator David Lopez. “That’s what this is about—starting today remembering those who gave the ultimate sacrifice “

Lopez led the march starting at Ballast Point Park in Tampa.

He was deployed overseas to Iraq and served in the US Marine Corps for 12 years.

He hopes the event reminded not only his team, but those driving by, about the true meaning of Memorial Day.

“I think it’s important to remember these lives that gave it all up for us,” he said. “There’s families now that don’t get their sons and daughters at the table anymore for Memorial Day.”

“It’s important for us to remember those families and remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for us to be able to be here today.”