Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Araw ng Kagitingan 2012 Commemoration and the Veterans’ Past and Future

* the monument in honor of the Bataan and
Corregidor Island defenders from San Pablo City

* the veterans who attended the 2012 Araw ng Kagitingan
program at Doña Leonila Park

I’ve already marked April 9 for two reasons: 1) to build my materials for a video I was suppose to make (which I ultimately failed last night due to slow internet connections), and 2) for the commemoration of Araw ng Kagitingan.

The date marks the fall of Bataan to the hands of the Japanese forces during the Second World War, an event which fast-tracked the downfall of the combined forces of the Filipinos and Americans culminating to the fall of Corregidor Island the following month. Araw ng Kagitingan allows us Filipinos to commemorate and honor the bravery shown primarily by the Filipinos – from the lay guerrilla fighters to the regulars – during the confusing times of the War. The events in the country, most particularly in the events here in San Pablo City, during WWII have become an interest of mine and have come to regard those guerrilla fighters in the city with respect.

* the veterans offering flowers to the monument

* flowers are not enough;
but they're the least that we can offer, dear fighters

That’s why if it is quite disappointing to hear people speak inaccurately of what these veterans of ours have done: that they fought so that we can have a city and that it was a fight of the peasantry. There may have already been social inequalities at that time but it was mostly out of the desire to kick the Japanese out of the city that they fought against them. It’s bad enough to hear historical inaccuracies; it’s worse to hear them being used to put forward political propaganda.

Let them, the war veterans, get the honor they deserve. Wreaths are tokens of sincerity for those who have died. It would be better to accord to those still living the satisfaction of seeing their efforts getting the right recognition. Beyond the usual financial benefits, it would be good to have accounts of their life during those times. And such accounts can only be made more reliable if we are to talk to them and have them narrate to us their lives. We give justice and honor of their future if we are to give security to their past.

Mabuhay kayong mga beteranong Pilipino!

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