Never forget. We hear that phrase all the time. We hear it so often, it's sometimes hard to remember what it means.
Ron White has not forgotten.
The Navy veteran has spent the last 10 months memorizing the name of every American man and woman killed in the war in Afghanistan. Every service member from every branch. Every CIA agent. Every civilian. Every single person on a list that is 2,200 names long and growing.
White has never personally met any of the people whose names are on his list, but they are all familiar to him in his memory. Not only can he tell you their names, he can also tell you their rank and role, and he lists them in the order in which they were killed.
"I just wanted to acknowledge that each person who died was an individual person," White told KXAS. "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 served in Afghanistan in 2007. Now, he has started "America's Memory Project," a mission based off his amazing feat of memorization. The initiative also aims to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project. White is currently touring cities in the United States, spending about eight hours at a time writing the names on white boards that serve as temporary monuments to the fallen.
Eventually, the names will be taken down. The writing will be erased, and White will move on to another town. But he will carry with him thousands of lives; immortal, intangible and ready to be shared with those whose memories may have failed them.
"Don't forget," White says. "We say never forget, but never forget."
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