U.S. Navy veteran Ron White spent the last 10 months memorizing the names of every service member, CIA agent and civilian contractor killing during the war in Afghanistan. One day last week, White spent the day writing each of their names and ranks on a 50-by-7 foot wall in downtown Fort Worth, Texas to honor them and remember their service.
“The sacrifice is huge, it’s big and it’s real,” White told KXAS-TV.
He said he wanted to acknowledge that every person who has died in the war was an “individual person.”
“You know, Gunnery Sgt. Benjamin Adam and LCPL. Leopold Damas, they were all moms and dads, brothers and sisters and they were each individual people,” White added.
Though he served a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy in Afghanistan, White said he didn’t know any of the people whose names he wrote on the tribute wall.
However, he got to know them in death when he began memorizing all of their names 10 months ago and started hearing from their families.
“They tell me who they were, about their character, about their bravery and their courage. And I’m a better person for hearing those stories. People are always thanking me for doing this, but I’ve become a better person by doing it,” said White.
So, what does White hope to accomplish with his “America’s Memory” project?
First and foremost, he wants to ensure that no hero soldier is forgotten. He also is using his touching — and impressive — tribute to help raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project.
“Don’t forget,” White said. “We say never forget — but never forget.”
KXAS-TV reports the wall was taken down Thursday night.