Saluting our Forebears
by Mark Cashean E. Timbal
Come June 12, the whole nation shall rise again in commemoration of that fateful day in Kawit, Cavite where General Emilio Aguinaldo raised, for the whole world to see, the national flag of the sovereign and independent Filipino people.
More than a century has passed since the invaders have been driven off and the battles with foreign colonizers had ended. It was a century filled with bloody struggles, valiant heroism, momentous triumphs and heart-rending defeats. A glorious time where many men, women shed blood and tears to secure to us, their posterity, the blessings of freedom and independence.
As we wave our little flags and welcome the bands playing patriotic songs, let us ask ourselves whether we do have a clear understanding on the reasons and realities behind our noble heroes’ exploits or not. Or better yet, if we still remember and honor our glorious past and beloved forefathers.
When Gat. Andres Bonifacio with all the other members of Katipunan tore their cedulas and started the revolution, their prime motive was to rid the archipelago of the oppressive colonizers, even die fighting for it. All their succeeding action and undertakings were focused on those dark times but their hearts and hopes lie in the future.
In the midst of their many battles, one can surmise, that they were thinking of ways how they could outmaneuver their adversaries. Yet deep in their battle-weary hearts, they knew that they were laying the foundations of a free nation. In the clash of swords, the hail of bullets and the firing of the canons, each revolutionary bequeathed to the next generation the spark of fervent nationalism and the seeds of a free state, capable of self-determination.
One can only imagine the gravity of the circumstances our ancestors were in during those times, where the biggest question is either to valiantly die fighting for independence or cowardly hide while the oppressors pillaged our motherland. The fate of the country was at stake and there’s no turning back, back to the infamous days of repression. Through overwhelming odds, our forefathers triumphed and President Aguinaldo declared independence.
We cannot compare our days with theirs. Ours is a time of ease while theirs is a time of hardship; tremendous hardships spiced by a great desire to be free. We enjoy the fruits of modern civilization so much that we have lost sight of our brilliant past. What are our recollections of Rizal, Luna, Mabini, Lapu-lapu and all the long dead men of valor?
Apolinario Mabini once said to his fellow revolutionaries, “Fight on to the bitter end so that our descendants would cry at our graves with tears of gratitude rather than hideous reproach!” Many did heed his words, many of which did not even hear him speak it. Many rose up for the cause of independence, and in the fields of heroism they fell. They died for the sake of the motherland and so that the others who will be born after them would be free.
Most of our history comes to us through the records that we study in school and read in books. Some of them are still shrouded in mystery, even lost in antiquity, but because we owe it to our Fathers, those brave men who have fought for our sakes, we must place them in high regard, a special place in our memories.
As we sing the national hymn, let us remember they who have gone before us. Sing it with pride and joy for the sake of those who weren’t able to see independence because they had died while fighting to achieve it. Let us wave our flags and salute it with all fervor for all our heroes.
In these modern times, let us remember that in the shining dawn of freedom and independence, let us not forget our brethren who have fallen during the dark night of our history and, of course, to look forward with pride and courage to face the challenges that lay ahead.
Are our heroes being treated with the respect and reverence they deserve? Does today's youth hold a firm appreciation for what our heroes have done during their time? Let everyone know in the Talakayan Board.