Reporting Jeff Ray
FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - Navy veteran Ron White served for eight years, including a tour in Afghanistan in 2007. On Thursday, out of his own pocket, White set up a temporary memorial wall in Burnett Park in downtown Fort Worth. The wall is based on the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C.
White came home from Afghanistan. His temporary memorial wall is for those who did not.
In Burnett Park, White also had a notebook with every name of those who died serving the U.S. military in Operation Enduring Freedom. There are almost 2,200 names. It will take him eight hours to write every name on the memorial. But White will not need the notebook for his writing. He has all of the names memorized. “It took me 10 months to memorize,” he said.
For the last 20 years, White has taught seminars around the world on how to improve memory. “I memorized an 800-digit number in an hour at the World Memory Championships,” he explained. “I held the record for the most numbers ever memorized in five minutes. I thought those things were big accomplishments but, after this, they’re not.”
White paid over $12,000 for the display, but his Fort Worth permit ends Thursday at sundown. The wall will have to be removed. But those walking past the wall on Thursday will certainly remember White’s powerful memory. Hollie Smith works in the Burnett Building and heard about White on Facebook. “I can’t believe he can memorize 2,000 names,” she said, “and he is going to write them on this wall.”
As the names are written down, they also give a powerful message. The cost of war is not in a number, it is in a name — every name.
Click here if you would like to donate to the memorial.
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