During the recent Araw ng Kagitingan commemoration activities here in San Pablo City, Laguna, I made way again to the same spot I chose way back in 2012 to take photos of the World War II (WWII) veterans and their relatives as a form of my tribute to them. It has been years since I started my pet project on a local history-related work on World War II (producing one research paper that was fortunately published and a bunch of unread drafts and references) but my admiration of these people is still here.
Although saddened by the observation that in this year's activity, only women WWII veterans/pensioners were present, it is still consoling to note that this commemoration (despite the seemingly mechanical and predictable flow of program each and every year) is still being done. It’s the least that we could do, particularly us who are not involved in the processing of pensions long due to most of the WWII veterans all over the country.
These veterans may not be wearing the battle scarred faces and bodies we usually see in the movies but their existence is the closest we could get to real-life heroes that are mentioned in the pages of our Philippine history books. It is my fervent hope that the simple commemorative rifle planted on a tomb-like base in Doña Leonila Park will stay there for many more years. We may now find that the names of those who fought during the War that are etched there are incomplete but the annual commemoration of their bravery is our version of salute to these Filipino fighters, names etched or un-etched alike.