Who Are The Sisters Of Jody Michael Wirawan?

Picture of the front of the memorial card for SPC Jody Michael Wirawan which was designed by his sister Jennifer Grattan Wirawan.Apparently there’s been some confusion out there so here’s a list of the sisters of my brother Jody Michael Wirawan who is from Anchorage, Alaska.

Jody has 3 sisters:

Anita Wirawan from Anchorage, Alaska.

Jennifer (Grattan) Wirawan from Anchorage, Alaska.

Amelia ‘Tsunami’ Wirawan from Jakarta, Indonesia.

At right is a picture of the memorial card for Jody which was made for his memorial in 2008 by his sister Jennifer (Grattan) Wirawan. To see the entire card check out the Gallery section of the online Memorial For Jody.


Wirawan: What Does The Word Mean?

Picture of a superhero to represent the name Wirawan meaning Hero in Bahasa Indonesia, also Jennifer Wirawan is my hero.Wirawan is a word that means ‘hero’ or ‘heroic’ in the language of Indonesia, which is called Bahasa Indonesia.

As many of you know my father is Indonesian and my last name comes from him, but there is a bit of a strange story behind it all.

You see in Indonesia many people only have one name, as in they don’t have a first, middle, or last name…it’s a one in all sort of deal.

But when my dad came here to the US to go to college he ran into a problem. Over here he was was constantly having to fill out forms that required a first and last name.

So his solution was to use the name ‘Joe’ (“Like Joe Cool” he explained to me one day) whenever a form or situation required two names and then use ‘Wirawan’ as his last name.

Picture of Joe Cool from the comic strip which was an inspiration for Doktor Wirawan from Jakarta, Indonesia to take the first name Joe while studying in the US.And when my dad got married here he had no choice but to use his one and only name as the last name for his wife and daughter.

I always thought that must have been kind of weird for him, to have what is essentially his first name become the family name all of a sudden. Just imagine how strange it would be if your family suddenly was using your first name as their last all the time. Like Sally John, or Brian Laura. Well to him Anita Wirawan is the same sort of thing.

Anyway, Wirawan as a last name lives on through me as now my wife has taken the name Wirawan as well. So now she is Jennifer Wirawan and when we have kids they will be Joseph Wirawan or Julia Wirawan.

Jennifer chose to take my last name because the last of the blood-related family that I know here in the US, my brother Jody Wirawan, died in 2008.

Her choosing to have the last name Wirawan and so choosing the same for our future children is a sweet way of reassuring me that yes I do have family here and will continue to. Also since Jody didn’t have any kids it’s a way of having Jennifer and my future kids share the same family name as him.

So now that I think about it Jennifer Wirawan is actually a very appropriate name for her, because for doing all that she is my hero ;).

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A Surprise Visit For Memorial Day

A flag and a plaque that reads Jody Wirawan US Army IraqMy brother Jody is buried quite far from anybody that knew him, so even under the best of circumstances he doesn’t get visitors very often.

Jennifer and I visit as much as we possibly can but going there as much as we’d want to would cost tens of thousands of dollars each year. How do you decide exactly which handful of days out of a year to visit a loved one? It’s simply not enough time to cover all the important days.

And that’s one of the things that hangs heavy on my heart, especially on special days like Memorial Day. I always wish I could be there even for just a few minutes so that he could get a visit from someone that knew who he was and cares about him.

So as Memorial Day rolled around this year it seemed to be turning out bittersweet as usual. Jody was a veteran so I’m glad for this day that the country sets aside specifically to honor the service of all veterans. But of course my mind also went to the fact that Jody would once again not have anyone there that knew about him or his story… or so I thought.

Unbeknownst to Jennifer and I a plan had been set in motion a while ago. I don’t know too many details about that plan at the moment but I do know what became of it.

I was sitting on the couch and Jennifer was in the midst of checking her email when suddenly she froze and tears were welling up in her eyes.

‘What is it?’ I said looking over at her screen. I couldn’t really tell what it said and I gotta admit I was pretty worried as to what about that email was affecting her like this. Was this bad news?

‘You have to come see this Honey’ was her only response. Shit, it did sound bad.

Cautiously I got closer and peered at the screen, it was a picture of… a headstone with two flags over it… aww. It was Jody’s headstone.

A picture of two American flags above the headstone of Jody Michael Wirawan.

And of course I pretty much immediately started crying as well lol, especially when Jennifer began reading the email to me.

A friend of ours was travelling outside of Alaska with her mother and they both took a special trip out of their way to pay Jody a visit.

They wanted to make sure that he had a flag for Memorial Day so they brought one along just in case no one was putting flags out at that cemetery for the veterans.

When they got there some kind souls had indeed come through and put flags by all the veterans’ headstones, so this year Jody got something that I consider very special: an extra flag.

That flag might not seem like such a big deal to some but it means the world to me. It means that even though Jennifer and I couldn’t be there, Jody still had visitors who cared and was not alone this Memorial Day.

Jody Wirawan Memorial Day.