I will be blogging here telling the story of the year of my life I have spent in with this project. I started memorizing it May 1, 2012 but the idea was in 2011. It was months and months of planning before the memory work began May 1st when I was in Mauritius to give a speech.
It has been an amazing journey. As I memorized I thought I would finish in 2 months? Wow…How naive was I. It took me 10 months and at times I wanted to give up. But I pressed on and I did for many reasons:
- I wanted to honor these men and women
- I had failed on a previous memory goal in 2011 and it was embarrassing that I told everyone I knew I was going to memorize every 9-11 person who lost their life and I fell short. I didn’t want to fail again
- I pressed on every time I thought of Kailey, Chloe and Jacob and how they memorized the presidents. I kept telling myself….They memorized 44 words this is 160 times that. If Kailey is 5 you should be able to do 160 times what a 5 year old can do. My project was 7,000 words because it is (rank, 1st name and last). But if you just see each person as one item then it was about 50 times what Kailey did. Either way you look at it Kailey, Chloe and Jacob (3 kids who are brothers and sisters that I taught to memorize the presidents) were an inspiration for me. Here is a video of Kailey doing it http://youtu.be/PAJkv-l_t_A
- I don’t think any member of the military who serves in a time of war and comes back unharmed ever feels they did enough. My job in Afghanistan wasn’t dangerous. I went on plenty of convoys (about 50) but they were without incident. Then another service member on my base would lose his life in an IED attack. I don’t think you can help but think, ‘Did I do enough? Did I give enough?’ when you return unscathed. That feeling of not having done enough fueled my passion for this wall as well. Maybe with this I could do a little more.
There are more reasons and I will share those reasons in the future blogs. I look forward to communicating with you and sharing my thoughts in this process.
To the men and women on my wall I salute you. To their family and friends I grieve with your loss but promise you that I will not forget them. Any of them. Literally.