Military veteran driver Craig Daniel is on a mission: He invites fellow vets to sign the sides of his military-themed truck wrap as a rolling, “Wall of Remembrance.”
He’s traveled all over the country, connecting with vets on a powerful level about their service and those they’ve left behind. Craig’s gesture has meant the world to many veterans, and through this project he has helped soldiers to grieve.
“Memorial Day is coming up. Just remember Memorial Day is not Veterans Day. For some of us it’s not really appreciated when you say, ‘happy Memorial Day’ because some of us have lost friends. This is the time we can remember them. We’re always going to see something, smell something that’s going to remind us.”
“When you do your Memorial Day, do your barbeques, do your hot dogs, do your fried chicken. But remember those that have lost. Remember those that gave more than they planned on.”
Walking around his truck, he points to a signature. “Last night, I got to talking to one of the mechanics. Not only is she a veteran, she’s a two time Purple Heart recipient. She’s a combat medic with the 101st. She has a story. That’s why I’m doing this, to listen to people’s stories.” He gestures across the wrap and says that, “everyone of these people has told me their stories.”
His work has even helped launch a suicide awareness campaign.
It started with a salute
“The start of this was because of a panhandler in Nashville.”
“As I rolled through an intersection with a green light. He stood and saluted the truck. I knew he had a story but I never got a chance to talk to him.”
Craig’s truck wrap is military themed with large depictions of dog tags on the sides. The panhandler he passed was showing respect for the truck wrap’s salute to US soldiers. That salute of respect had a huge impact on Craig, “I had a feeling that he was onto something that would connect veterans and show honor to their service.”
He continues, “Validation came later at MATS 2022 when I ran across my Battery Commander from Germany, whom I had not seen or heard from since 1987, and he signed my truck.
Through his Wall of Remembrance, Craig was able to cross the gulf to reach out to his fellow Gulf War soldiers, “The majority of the right side of my truck was signed by my fellow soldiers from the 197th INF BDE that I went to the Gulf War with when I took it to our annual reunion.”
Soldiers Helping Soldiers
Craig continues that, “Running into fellow veterans across the country and hearing stories from them and sharing the “wall of remembrance” where they write the names of friends they lost in combat has been incredibly humbling and therapeutic for all of us. I even had a serious moment with a guy in Kenosha, Wi. Who wrote 7 names on the wall.”
This soldier, “was the only survivor from his squad that was attacked by TB. The soldier and I, “shared and grieved together. This has also let me help start a suicide awareness program with the Joshua Chamberlain Society.”
“You never know who you are going to run across, who you are going to see… If you see me en route, let me know you’re a veteran and come sign the truck!”