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Arizona Diamondbacks mark Memorial Day with name wall, special uniforms

Veteran Ron White writes the names of every American killed in the war with Afghanistan from memory. (Twitter Photo/@joshrawitch)

PHOENIX -- The Arizona Diamondbacks made a special effort to honor those who served on Memorial Day.

From special shirts to a memory expert, the D-backs took advantage of their doubleheader with the Texas Rangers to make Monday a special day at the ballpark.

Ron White, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, is a two-time U.S. memory champion and knows the names of every American killed in that conflict.

"I've memorized all 2,200 of them in the order of their deaths," he said. "Memorized their ranks, their first name and their last name. It's about 7,000 words."

The D-backs hired White to write out the names of each soldier on a massive wall at Chase Field.

"We're going to get a 50-foot wall. It's black and looks like the Vietnam Wall," he said. "About an hour before game one, I'm going to start writing out the names from memory. It will take me about 10 hours to write all 7,000 words."

In addition to White's tribute, the D-backs wore camouflage jerseys and hats with all proceeds from the sales of the merchandise going to the Welcome Home Veterans program.

The D-backs bullpen also wore special shirts to mark the day.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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