Let me tell you some facts about my younger brother.
- He used to compete for Math competitions locally and internationally. He’s competed in three countries (and won) in a span of three years.
- An expert when it comes to computer – can hack different internet providers, can make his own programs already (yup, coding, programming and all that shiz when he’s still in grade school)
- Extremely good with games especially the ones where you have to follow series of rhythm. Okay, sorry. We all know I’m bad at explaining but games like O2Jam – very old school, I know, but that’s the first thing that came into my mind.
- Writes and speaks good English
- Takes good photos of me :) :)
- And if there’s one thing that I can say he’s better than me with, it’s drawing. He got his skills from my dad who also draws beautifully. I remember there was a time when mom told me that the framed drawing of God on their bedroom is dad’s creation. I was so surprised because I really thought that they just bought it somewhere ’cause it’s beautifully drawn.
Llander is a senior year in high school now and I rarely see him study; unlike when he was younger when my mom’s really focused on him that made him become the salutatorian of his batch. (He’s supposed to be the valedictorian but long story.) Trust me, I’m so used to the scene where my mom would scold my brother telling him he’s in front of the computer all day. May follow up sermon pa na if his grades are low, “he’ll see.”
But nope, each time his report card was released every term, his grades are fine. Even more than fine.
I spent two weeks of summer 2015 in Los Angeles, CA with the Terrado family, and Abbey, their eldest child, was Llander’s classmate. Her family moved to California when she was still in third or fourth grade and I remember how we talked about her life back home one time.
“I can’t beat Llander in school when I was in the Philippines. He was always the first honor and I would always be #2,” she said. “I only experienced being at the top when I moved here.” And we both laughed because it’s true. Abbey’s a really brilliant girl – 4.0 GPA and all – but she can’t beat my brother. (Ganun siya ka-intense, guys.)
I bet she can now, now that he’s not really into studying anymore.
Anyway, too much of an introduction. (Yup, sorry, parang ‘di n’yo naman ako kilala.) But as reading, we can all say that my brother’s a smart guy. He’s proven so much of himself already even as a kid and I remember my parents giving him the things he wanted, in exchange for all the things he has done. Also, for making them feel proud; us proud.
Because that’s what parents do, right? They always reward us whenever we do something good.
And normally, that’s what kids do. They always strive harder to get higher grades in school in order for them to get something; in reward of the things they’ve worked hard for.
Wahat at Karama literally means oasis of dignity.
I will tell you its deeper meaning later on, but for now, let us first admire how remarkable UAE’s architectures are. I don’t know if I’ve said it on my past blogs but I’m really in awe on how creative and unique their buildings are in here.
So peaceful. It is located in front of the beautiful Sheikh Grand Zayed Mosque and if you want to stare at it from another wonderful angle, you can do it here.
The Memorial consists of 31 massive aluminum-clad tablets leaning on each other which symbolizes the unity, solidarity, and mutual support that bind UAE’s leaders and citizens together with the service men and women who protected them. The long spine at the rear of the Memorial symbolically supports the other panels and is engraved with the Pledge of Allegiance of the UAE Armed Forces.
The tablets, which are formed from over 1,000 cast aluminum panels, are inscribed with a series of poems and quotations by different leaders of United Arab Emirates all written in Arabic.
I was lucky enough that there was a local couple the time I was there. And because there were no reasons to get shy at all, I approached the girl and asked her what all these Arabic quote means.
I have to understand. I want to understand.
She answered me with a smile and pointed to one tablet translating a quote for me and said, “This means that UAE will never forget those people who have died for the country.” And I swear, that moment, it touched me. As in I was so touched with the thought that this country’s love for their people is so huge they even made this whole beautiful place dedicated to them.
I wanted to ask more translations from her and I can see that she’s willing to answer and happy to converse with me. But I noticed how she’s also having a hard time speaking in English and I don’t want to be a burden to her. (Why do we have to speak different languages, though? How nice would it be if we can all understand each other?)
So I thanked her sincerely, sat at the nearest bench after and just stared at those tablets. Sobrang lost in thoughts talaga ako, mga mamsh!
Wahat Al Karama is a permanent tribute to UAE’s brave soldiers and Emiratis who selflessly sacrificed their own life while serving the nation. Which leads us back to what I was saying earlier.. Kids strive harder to get good grades because they wanted a reward for the things they’ve worked hard for.
But these people.. They all died to protect their country.
And to do something good without expecting anything in return.. I think that’s beautiful. They didn’t know that something as heartwarming as this place would be given to them in reward for their death. No. They just fought until the end, all because of their love for their country. Oh, the patriotism..
♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡
These heroes deserve this. They deserve even much more beautiful than this. They deserve all the respect every person can give and they deserve to be known especially by everyone who is now stepping on their own realm.
They will continue to inspire us and we will keep their memories alive through this memorial.