Navy veteran Ron White honors fallen U.S. service men and women by writing their names on a wall, all from memory. Video courtesy of USAA
Memorial Day is a time for Americans to honor members of the U.S. military who laid down their lives in the service of the country. For U.S. Navy veteran Ron White, his method of memorializing takes on a unique form.
White, who served in Afghanistan, is also a two-time champion of the USA Memory Championship. Using his talent, White committed to memory the names and ranks of more than 2,300 military men and women who lost their lives in Afghanistan — and hand-writes each one of them, in order of their death, on a memorial wall in tribute.
“If I was a painter, I would’ve painted a portrait. If I was a singer I would’ve written a song,” White said in a video released by the United Services Automobile Association. “It only made sense to use my memory.”
According to ABC News, White began memorizing the names in 2012 after being inspired by a trip to the Vietnam Memorial in Washington.
“A couple of years ago, I was looking at the Vietnam Wall and just started thinking, ‘What’s the Afghanistan memorial going to look like?'” White said. “Then I started thinking about that, and I thought, ‘I wonder if I could memorize the Vietnam Wall’ and that evolved into ‘Wait a minute, why don’t you memorize the names from Afghanistan? That’s the war you served in.'”
White says the list took him around nine months to memorize. Since first writing the wall in Fort Hood, Texas, in March 2013, White has been traveling around to U.S. cities utilizing his talent.
“It was just my way to honor them, to say you were significant, your life was important, and we honor you and we’re not gonna forget you.”