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.


TheAlbrechtSquad said...

Beautiful post Matt, thank you for sharing.

RP said...

Thank you for this post Matt, it is very insightful. These brave young men and women be them from any part of the world are true heros, to whom we own our today...A Salute to all these Heroes...

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