Sunday, May 30, 2010

Please Remember 'Em

Spend most of the day at Arlington today. Grandpa said more inspiring things than he ever did before. Wish I had a recorder so I can record everything he said.

We stopped by and saw mostly friends and family at Arlington. Grandpa introduced me to people that he knew and served with. They were his friends, his battle-buddies, and now, my friends and heroes. Grandpa even introduced me to some of my Dad's or Uncle's or Aunt's battle-buddies, "I remember seeing 'em grow up!" he would tell me. And just like that, the letters on the graves were not just letters, they were a person and they all had a story to tell.

I'm glad I got to know more about all of 'em. It was as if they were talking right to me and sharing their stories and life with me. From their first step to their BCT stories. It just felt surreal.

We then walked around and read many names at Arlington. We may not know all of the heroes that laid to rest here in this sacred place, but we remember 'em as brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, and most of all heroes.

Grandpa and I found our way to Section 27 of Arlington and saw the grave of Pvt. William H. Christman, the first soldier to laid to rest here in Arlington. His grave mark was old and worn out. And in ways, it felt very lonely. It's been over 130 years since Pvt. Christman was laid to his final resting place. And I wondered if any one of his family, relatives, or descendants still visit him today.

"Sometimes, our busy lives make us forget what is truly important, son." Grandpa said, "And with time, a hero like Pvt. Christman is put in the back of people's mind and eventually forgotten. It's a scary thing, kid."

Like a child I told him I was scared. Scared that one day, 130+ years later, people won't remember our fallen and what they've done for us. People won't remember heroes like Pvt. William H. Christman and someday, their graves will be lonely and forever forgotten.

Grandpa said he is afraid of that also. But, "this is why we do this every year, son. So the tradition carries on, so generations and generations after you will remember these heroes for what they've done for this country. We can only hope that there are many many more family that does this every year, so 130 some years later, the country as a whole would still remember our heroes."

We spend hours with Pvt. Christman. We talked about the most random things with him. We told him the things that happened years after he was laid to rest. We told him how the world have changed 130+ years later. And we laughed, knowing that "internet" and "cell phones" would confuse the hell out someone who fought with the Union Army. But we told him anyways, we thought he should know.

Before we left, we stood in silence and saluted Pvt. Christman and hope that he knows generations after him have not forgot about what he did. In hopes that he doesn't feel alone and forgotten. I truly hope that generations from now, people will not forget what all these heroes have done. I truly hope that someone will continue to tell their stories so these heroes may never ever be forgotten.

In 1868, on May 30th, Memorial Day (it was known as Decoration Day) was observed for the first time. Now, 142 years later ask yourself, what have you done to remember our fallen heroes. What have you done to think about every single one of 'em. If you did nothing more than BBQ and shop, I urge to you think of heroes like Pvt. Christman who make your BBQing and shopping possible. Please remember 'em, because it is truly a scary thing if 130+ years later, these heroes are nothing but letters on a worn out grave.

You can read more about Pvt. William H. Christman here in an article written by R. David Christman (U.S Army Retired) and Charles Kerchner (U.S. Navy Retired) there's a copy of the letter Pvt. Christman wrote to his Mom on April 3, 1864 and more.

Thank you, Pvt. Christman, for allowing me and Grandpa to visit you today and thank you for hearing us go on and on about the world today. I know internet and cell phones just sound absurd to you but, again, we thought you should know.

Drawn by John Cole, Scranton, PA, The Times

Thank you to all the fallen heroes. I will do everything I can to ensure that 130+ years later, you are not forgotten. Thank you.

Week of May 30th, 2010

In this age and times, fewer and fewer people know what Memorial Day truly means. Just last week I asked some kids what Memorial Day is and majority of 'em told me, "I don't know." and I found that extremely sad.

I think being in the military family you grew up knowing what Memorial Day truly means. You know more than just about the BBQ and the long weekend. We know what Memorial Day truly stands for and we know and appreciate and honor the men and women who gave up their lives for all this to be possible.

When I was growing up, I remember the BBQs and I remember the fun. But first and foremost, we took the time to think and honor those who made our BBQs and fun possible. We think about the friends and family we lost and thank 'em for what they did. And we visit Arlington and Great-Grandpa or my Grandparents or even Dad would say some wise thing about Freedom, about Sacrifice, and about Remembering. And we'd let the silence run through the air. Sometimes, if we're lucky, the winds would pick up and the flag would wave freely in the air.

Now that's Freedom.

This Memorial Day, Grandma stayed home with Sarah while Grandpa and I took the flight to Washington D.C. There's just something about D.C when you land and walk outside the terminal, you just get that indescribable feeling. We landed in DC around 2300 and before we headed to our hotel room and settle for the day, Grandpa drove right pass the WWII Memorial and took this picture.

Guess Grandpa wanted a preview and well...I have a feeling what we're going to do tomorrow before we leave on Monday morning.

So this week is a special edition of Weekly Tunes, since today is the traditional Memorial Day. Join me this week and listen to Billy Ray Cyrus's Some Gave All and think about those who are the true American Idol.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Week of May 23rd, 2010

Completely forgot about Weekly Tunes this week.

Guess I got a lot of things on my mind plus the fact I just finished watching America: History of Us on History Channel.

So here's a good classic for Weekly Tunes. Join me this week and listen to "Little Girl" by Vic Damone.

Gotta love the classics!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

I've Decided

I've been weighing this on my mind ever since Mom passed away. And for weeks I tried to put it in the back of my mind. I kept telling myself that I'll deal with it later when it comes up. I didn't want to think about this because making this decisions meaning pulling myself in 3 or even 4 different directions. It'll make me hurt, it'll make me wonder about the what ifs and it'll make me wish more that Mom never left.

So I put it off because we can't turn back time and I can't bring my Mama back. Though I wish I can, even if it means trading my own life.

So days went by of me busy with school and trying to ride out the rest of my senior year. Weeks went by of me busy with life and taking care of Sarah that I truly put this subject in the back of my head. But as the end of May and graduation draws closer and closer, this thing started to crawl back like a freaking cockroach.

So I sat in my car one day and thought long and hard about this decision. I thought about a lot of different things, I thought about Sarah, I thought about Dad and I thought about myself and my dreams. I thought about the years when I ran the bases with all my might so "I can play ball!" I thought about the years that football seems like the only thing that truly matters to me. And when I made up my mind, I thought about a "good" way to tell Dad when he gets home. I thought about a "good" way to tell my Grandparents. And even after I told 'em my decision, I still don't know if what I said to 'em was a "good" one.

I put off telling my Grandparents until after graduation, until the end of the dinner and events, until the guests left the house. Until I couldn't put it off anymore and I told my Grandparents my decision.

To my surprise, my Grandparents took it well. Grandpa didn't shook his head or sigh and Grandma didn't urged me to think about this just "one more time" They didn't say anything but nodded their heads. Maybe they didn't say anything this time because they are so disappointed in me, they have nothing to say....I truly hope this isn't the case. And now sitting alone in my house, I wonder if Mom would be okay with my decision, I wonder what Mama is saying in Heaven. I wonder if she's mad at me or if she's just yelling like there's no tomorrow. I wish there's a way for me to know...

I decided I'm not going away for college.

I applied to 7 schools and got into 4 schools (Kentucky, Ohio State, Florida, Texas A&M) and though I am extremely happy for those 4 schools for accepting me to their university, I am not going away for college and I will deny attendance in all 4 schools.

Call me all you want or think of me less if you want to. I don't care. Because I can't do it, I just can't go away to college without thinking about Sarah and about Dad. I can't go miles away thinking that Sarah's alone or at my Grandparents without Dad or me. I can't imagine her sad days of missing Mama without me or Dad I just can't do it. People kept asking me if there were any other way, there might be but I really don't want to take chances. Call me all you want but truly, I can't do it, I can't leave Sarah here.

But don't you guys fucking call my Dad names and think of him as selfish for not retiring now and think of him as a bad parent. Because I know where he's coming from. I know he is seeing the big picture and want the best for the both of us. Mama's not here anymore and things we used to have may only last so long. There are just too many things to think about and I know Dad's looking at the big picture. He's looking at the big picture even when he lost his best friend and his love. I trust him, he's my Dad.

And before you go into a rant about my bad decision, I said I'm not going away for college but that doesn't mean I'm not going to college. I'm already taking college classes at the local community college (15 units right now) and talking to counselors about which A.A degree will be good for me and the possibility of transferring to elsewhere for my B.A or maybe even Ph.D. degree. I know how important having an education is so I won't throw that completely away.

This just means that I won't be going away for college. I won't be partying at some frat house and getting myself drunk every week. I won't be living in a dorm or sitting at the students section of the football stadium. I won't be able to hear the noises during March with my own ears. I won't be able to go around checking out college girls and thinking about Nicole.

But I'll be with Sarah and I'll get my degree, you can count on that.

Mama, I truly hope you were at graduation today. I know I've told you it's just a little sheet of paper but I really wish that you saw it when I put it up to the sky for you. I also truly hope that you aren't mad or upset and disappointed with this college decision I've made. I just want what's best for Sarah and Dad. I really do. I love you Mama, please don't be disappointed.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Week of May 16th, 2010

I'm going to say that I actually didn't have a song in mind for Weekly Tunes. But lately I have been hearing these lines repeatedly by a lot of different people and I had no clue what they are talking about nor which song it was from.

Can we pretend that airplanes in night sky are shooting stars
I could really use a wish right now.

So a friend told me and I thought this be a good Weekly Tunes! So this song is as new as to me as it is to you guys (or maybe not to some of you?) Join me this week and listen to BoB (ft. Hayley Williams)'s Airplanes

Also, as a side note. I couldn't decide if I wanted to take a shower first or have breakfast first so I thought of flipping a coin. Since I couldn't flip a coin (darn those little things in life...) I found this awesome site that let's you flip any number of coins and in any currency! It's freaking amazing and rather addicting! Haha Check 'em out at (Yes I know I'm easily amused...)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Change

This blog was written on Monday, May 10, 2010. I posted this entry after I've receive contact and permission from Mr. Michael Hyatt- CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers- to include his name and November 29th, 2009's entry "DO YOU MAKE THESE 10 MISTAKES WHEN YOU BLOG?" on this blog entry. Thank you, Mr. Hyatt for granting me permission.

I didn't know who Mr. Michael Hyatt is before I joined Twitter. I had heard about Thomas Nelson Publishers (largest Christian publishing company in the world and the seventh largest trade book publishing company in the U.S.- (You can read and find out more about Mr. Hyatt's work, blog, and site here) but I had no idea who the CEO is. Well that is until I read a RT (Re-tweet for you people who doesn't use Twitter- which by the way why aren't you? Check out Mr. Hyatt's 12 Reasons to Start Twittering and start tweeting!) of Mr. Hyatt's tweets by one of the people that I follow.

And after several clicks, I found myself in Mr. Hyatt's blog and site and reading everything and anything I can written by Mr. Hyatt (subject varies from Leadership, to Productivity, to Publishing, Resources, and even Social Media) I was extremely intrigued by the blog posts he's written and extremely fund of his ways of sharing his leadership skills with his reader.

From that day on, I not only knew who Mr. Hyatt is, but I've subscribed to all of his blog spots through Google Reader and soon, follow him on Twitter

Over the weekend, Mr. Hyatt tweet about one of the blog he wrote back in November titled "DO YOU MAKE THESE 10 MISTAKES WHEN YOU BLOG?" I'm not sure why I missed that post but it caught my eyes and reading on about it, I realized my blog needs a change.

The 10 mistakes, Mr. Hyatt said are:
  • You don’t post enough.
  • You post too much.
  • Your post is too long.
  • You don’t invite engagement.
  • You don’t participate in the conversation.
  • You don’t make your content accessible.
  • You don’t create catchy headlines.
  • Your first paragraph is weak.
  • Your post is off-brand.
  • Your post is about YOU.
And well...I'm going to say that I've made A LOT of the 10 mistakes. In fact, I'm pretty sure I am making mistake #2 right now (Your post is too long) So, inspired by Mr. Hyatt's post, I'm going to make some changes around here. Meaning, from now on. I am going to try and make less mistakes on my posts. Wish me luck because I'm going to need it.

Thanks again, Mr. Hyatt, for letting me write about you and permitting me to talk and use your blog post "DO YOU MAKE THESE 10 MISTAKES WHEN YOU BLOG?", you truly are an inspiration, Mr. Hyatt. Thank you

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Week of May 9th, 2010

As you guys know, today is Mother's Day and well...I think this week for Weekly Tunes, I'll share one Mom's favorite song with you guys.

My family and I, we're a huge Country family. We listen to a lot of country music but we aren't shy to listen to other music genre's either. Because as Mom always said, "Whether you like it or not, they're playing it, so someone's got to like 'em!" Once awhile you can see Mom humming to Replay by Iyaz or sing along to Tik Tok by Ke$ha.

But for this week, I'd like to share with you one of Mom's favorite songs.

Join me this week and listen to Train's Hey Soul Sister, one of Mom's favorite songs. (I know what you're probably thinking, "Your Mom tries to be cool, Matt." and ya, she sometimes she does try too hard but got to hand it to my Mom for liking Train, love you Mama)

Happy Mother's Day

I know I am a day early but I'll be flying home in a couple hours so I thought I'd write this now.

First off, Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there.

We have a Mother's Day tradition (in fact, I realized we have a lot of traditions and well, this is one of 'em) in our family.

I can remember when I was a kid, I would make the card days before Mother's Day. I would pretend that I didn't care or forgot about such Holiday. And the night before, I'd sneak the card in Mom's purse and pretend I didn't know anything about it. On the day of, if Dad is home, we'd let Mom sleep in and then make her breakfast in bed. For the rest of the day, we'd bring Mom to anywhere she'd wanted to go and we'd go out for a nice dinner. After dinner, we'd come home with a huge Tiramisu (Mom's favorite dessert) and have Mom open the Mother's Day cards while we enjoy treats and maybe watch a movie or something. If Dad wasn't home, I would still "take" Mom out and "buy" her dinner and still "buy" her that Tiramisu. I can hear myself saying, "This cake please! For my Mommy on Mother's Day! Mama...can I have money? See, mama, I bought this for you!"

Such silly thing.

As I got older, the tradition continued. No matter how busy we were with PCS or where we were in the world. We always some how find the huge piece of Tiramisu and share it as a family while Mom open up the cards we made/bought for her.

Dad seemed to have his own traditions too. On top of the Tiramisu, flowers are a must. And towards the end of the night, Dad would take Mom out for a drive. I didn't know where they were going when I was young but years later I found out Dad would drive Mom to a very special place he found and share the time with Mom.

This year, I didn't plan on doing anything different. I knew I wanted to carry on the tradition for Mom. And that maybe in Heaven, she would love our Mother's Day tradition. And just like they were reading my mind, my Grandparents told me they wanted me at their place during Mother's Day weekend. They told me they already bought the flight there and all I needed to do was pack up some of my stuff, some of Sarah's stuff, and of course take Dosh along. So yesterday, I flew down to my Grandparents'.

So, the tradition continues.

During the flight I made a Mother's Day card for Mom. After I got to my Grandparents' at the early hours of Saturday, I stopped by and see Mom and told her I decided to skip school just to come and see her. And knowing her, she would see right through me to know I'm here to continue our tradition. To my surprise, a card and some flowers were already sitting by Mom's grave. A card to "My Sweetheart. My Love. My Best Friend"

Wonder who left it...

Saturday morning at oh-bright-hundred, I woke up and made breakfast and brought it out to Mom. Sarah, Dosh, and I sat next to Mom and had our breakfast together. I told Mom about a lot of things that's on my mind and told her how much I missed her. And Sarah had that look on her face. I don't know what the look meant but...well just that look. Anyways, after helping Grandpa picked out something for Gramdma's Mother's Day gift, I went out and bought a huge piece of Tiramisu. And after dinner, I brought the Tiramisu and the card to Mom. I sat near her, ate Tiramisu, showed her the card I made her and cried.

Happy Mother's Day, Mama. Hope you enjoyed the Tiramisu. I miss you every day and over this weekend, a hell of a lot more. I love you, Mama, Happy Mother's Day

I found this comic online. I think it says a lot about all the Moms out there:

So once again, to all the Moms in the world, Happy Mother's Day.

To all the kids in the world: hug, kiss, and thank your Mom every single day. Don't wait till it's too late.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Military Spouse Appreciation Day

I wish I have more time to write I really don't feel like packing some more of Sarah's stuff (My grandparents are flying Sarah, Dosh, and me to the Ranch for Mother's Day weekend, more about that later) so I'm going to edit this post and write more about it!

If my readers don't know what this day is about, well here's little history about it:

Military Spouse Appreciation Day (Military Spouse Day) is celebrated on the Friday before Mother’s Day. Of course, we take this day to acknowledge the significant contributions, support, and sacrifices of military spouses. MSAP was proclaim by President Ronald Reagan in 1984 to recognize the profound importance of spouse commitment to the readiness and well-being of military service members. Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger then established the Friday before Mother's Day as Military Spouses Day.

So, I'm sure you know that now it's pretty much a HUGE deal, after all, where will the service member be without their spouse? (My Mom used to say that about my Dad all the time) We all know that behind a soldier, there is someone else who is fighting another war and another battle. And truly, all the military spouses are amazing. If you are one, you know what I mean. If you're not a Mil Spouse, then go and give Mil Spouse a huge hug! You guys rule! You know who you are out there!

This year for Military Spouse Appreciation day, I would like to take the time to recognize a very spouse that sits close to my heart. My Mom. And today, I'd like to present her with a Military Spouse Medal.

It reads:

The Spouse does not wear a uniform yet they serve their country. They do not acquire nor wear ribbons showing where they have been yet they go. They did not ask for the duty they perform yet they unwaveringly serve to their best ability. They serve – yet are not honored with trinkets or pieces of cloth, showing their service.

The burning candle signifies the lonely nights you have spent and that you have kept the home fires burning. A symbol with no beginning and no end, the ring around the candle flame symbolizes the undying flame of love for your spouse. The image of a rose is for the unwavering devotion you have shown for your spouse and their service to their country.

This Medal is gratefully given to those that do not ask, those that stay on the home front so that their spouse can serve for they also proudly serve their country.

At the same time, I want to thank Mom. For the many years she's been a military spouse, she is truly an amazing person and even more amazing military spouse (I'm sure my Dad would completely agree with me on this), Mom, and so much more. She's done more than I will ever do in my life. She truly is amazing.

I love you Mama

Mama, Happy Military Spouse Appreciation Day, your service is truly appreciated and you are amazing. We'll see each other soon and we'll talk. I love you, Mama.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Week of May 2nd, 2010

I think I realized yesterday that I haven't log onto my in awhile.

So I did.

And somewhere between all the country much and the jazz on, they played me this song. It wasn't my first time hearing the song but it was then I realize that shit song is kind of catchy. But then again, maybe that's what hip-hop is all about, being catchy.

Join me this week and enjoy Hey Baby (Jump Off) by Bow Wow ft. Omarion

Like I said before, I listen to just more than Country. Hard to believe, I know.

P.S. There's 16 more days of school, technically. Then it's mandatory fun till graduation, on the 22nd. Where did the time go?

Saturday, May 1, 2010


Yesterday, while browsing around, I came across an article labeled, War Widows Struggle With a Special Grief and without thinking, I clicked on the link and read the entire article. The article was nothing special, it didn't teach me anything and I can't tell you about. I expect these things, even if you don't want to think or talk about it.

As I got to the middle of the article, I thought of Dad. He's working and somewhere in the world, a man is struggling with a special kind of grief. You often hear the word widow in the military. But not often do you hear widower in this community. Especially when your wife wasn't in the military. Especially when your wife was healthy as a horse months before she passed away. And that, makes Dad's grief a special one.

Now I don't know how Dad is dealing with all this. I don't know whether or not he's talking to his friends or a doc about it but I know he's not talking to me. I just hope he is talking to someone, and in some way, he is letting out this grief in a healthy way. I lost my mother to cancer. I can't lose my Dad to grief.

Though in ways, I feel I already lost him.

Towards the end of the article, something caught my eye, " among several...widows who still keep message machines tucked away in their closets..." I read that and I thought of myself and Dad, we still have the message machine in the house (in fact, it never even move an inch) We still have messages left in the machine. We still have the usual joyful greeting from Mom, "We're not home right now!" We still have a few messages on there left by Mom. And as much as I'd to hear Mom's voice again, "don't forget to pick up milk!" can and most likely will kill me all over again. So, for now, we leave it in it's place. In the living room, by the TV, and in our hearts.

"Reality is when you take your husband's name off your cell phone."

I completely agree...if we ever get the strength and courage to take Mom off of our phones, our answering machine, and our minds.

I don't think I ever will be able to do that.
I miss you, Mama. Dad is too.

P.S. It kind of hit me today that it's already May...which means there are about 17 days of real school left (plus senior finals and check out) then after that it's 3 days of mandatory fun before graduation on the 22nd. Time's going by too fast. And friends I met all over the world are graduating soon or already graduated. Really, where did the time go? I wonder if I'll ever get to meet some of 'em again...