As you can imagine, when I am standing at the wall and I am writing the names for 10-12 hours so many things are going on and happening during the day. It is a challenge just to keep focused on the task at hand and that is simply to write the 2,200 names from memory (rank, 1st name, last name; 7,000 words). Often, conversations will take place during the day and I have trouble placing them with the correct name. For example, someone may say, ‘He was from Kansas’ and then 3 hours later I wonder, ‘What name did they say was from Kansas again?’
This occurred on the 4th of July at Willie Nelson’s picnic. A woman came up to me in tears and asked to find a name. I think she asked for Staff Sgt Jeremy Katzenberger. If it wasn’t her then it was another woman that day that asked me to find Jeremy’s name on the wall. What I don’t know is I am remembering the correct woman.
She was in tears that day and the name she wanted to find was the name of the warrior who saved her brother’s life on ‘numerous occasions’ as she stated. She was in tears talking about the man who had given his life and now her brother was safe at home. She told me that this warrior would carry her brother’s equipment because in her words, ‘my brother is small.’ She stood in tears touching the man’s name who carried her brother’s gear.
I know for a fact this occurred, what I am having trouble recalling is if it was Staff Sgt Jeremy Katzenberger’s name she was looking at that day. I don’t know if he was the one because my mind was handling so much information that day.
When I realized I was ‘t 100% sure about the details of this story I was disappointed because I want to recall the story of the wall accurately to retell and share here. Then it hit me, it doesn’t matter if the name she was looking at was Jeremy Katzenberger or not. Because the story she told of another man carrying the load is the story of all the men and women on this wall. They all carried the load for all of us so we could be safe at home. They all carried the load to be strong for us. They all paid the ultimate sacrifice while carrying the load for a nation.
Was she pointing at Jeremy’s name that day? I can’t recall.
But is it who Jeremy Katzenberger is? You better believe it is. It’s who they ALL are.
Maybe it’s best I can’t remember the name, because it is all of the names