Veteran honors fallen heroes by memorizing names
FORT WORTH, TX (WHDH) -- A Navy veteran is honoring our nation's heroes by never forgetting their names.
He's memorizing the names of the more than 2,200 men and women who have died serving in Afghanistan.
"The sacrifice is huge, it’s big and it’s real,” said Ron White, a Navy veteran.
"I just wanted to acknowledge that each person who died was an individual person. Like Gunnery Sergeant Benjamin Adam and Lance Corporal Leopold Damas. They were all had moms and dads, brothers and sisters,” said White.
White, a Navy veteran who served in Afghanistan himself didn't know anyone on this wall.
"They were a couple miles from me when they died. I knew who they were, but I didn't know them,” said White.
At least not until he started memorizing their names 10 months ago and hearing from their families.
"They tell me who they were, about their character, 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.
Among those thanking White on this day is Christine Smithson, who found the name of a man who served with her son.
"It just hits, because he's a specialist, and my son is a specialist. And it's a comfort, and I'm sure it's a comfort to the families,” said Smithson.
Families like that of soldier Austin Staggs.
"It made me real happy to make think that someone is still thinking about our boys that gave their lives,” said Maryanne Buckner, Pfc. Austin Staggs’ grandmother.
And that's what White hopes to accomplish with each name he writes, that those who see this display also remember.
"Don't forget. We say never forget, but never forget,” said White.