Faceless heroes-A A +A
Spark of Law
Monday, August 26, 2013
TODAY is a holiday. It is the National Heroes Day.
What makes one a hero? Well, my social studies teacher in the elementary told me that heroes are those who sacrifice their lives for the love of country. Oftentimes, heroism entails martyrdom, sainthood in the religious sphere.
Jose Rizal was shot for refusing to capitulate to Spain. Andres Bonifacio was shot by a fellow rebel's bullet. Ninoy Aquino was shot at the tarmac of NAIA so as Lapu-lapu, Dagohoy, Gabriela Silang to name a few.
But I have friends too who died anonymous during Martial Law. I will not name them to keep their anonymity. They are happy that way. I don't want them to rise from their graves to curse me for naming them. They were like shadows when they were alive so much around but not quite visible.
My friends died for their passionate, almost orgasmic love for their country. Yet, people do not recall them. They are nameless faces in history who died for love of country but upon whose dead bodies became gruesome statistics during Martial Law mass murders.
Without the gruesome statistics of these nameless rebels during Martial Law, Ninoy's death could have been a mere statistics also. Ninoy's death was made most significant because of the many who died before him in the name of the country. Ninoy's death was the last nail in the coffin, so to speak. But what preceded him were the many nails already buried in the coffin.
Why my friends are not revered as heroes? Can individuals alone claim the country's upheavals? The heroes we now revere cannot be detached from the historical stream that they were once a part of.
The so-called heroes that we now revere, without a doubt, have shown their unconditional love of our country. They died with patriotic zeal.
But without demeaning the true value of their sacrifices, these heroes owe their popularity from the nameless faces in history, which make their fight worthwhile. The lives of these heroes are woven in the many tales of Juan dela Cruzes who died anonymous.
If we come to think about it, our heroes are mere popular symbols of the era they belong. While we give tribute to them, and rightly, we too must remember the many who died during a particular era.
Truth to tell, National Heroes Day should not be a mere celebration of Lapu-lapu, Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, Ninoy Aquino and the rest of popular mortals. The real heroes are those who all died in the era of upheavals of our country.
As a people, we are the collective heroes of Edsa 1986. We have become heroes even in the eyes of the world for democratic peaceful revolution. So popular the Filipinos then that the fall of so many dictatorships throughout the globe were attributed to us, as a model.
The Filipinos are their own heroes. The national struggle cannot and should never be left to an individual hero. There was never one hero in an era. The success of previous upheavals was due largely to the collective heroism of faceless Filipinos.
When the country is now beset with the scandalous pork barrel scam, we may now have to summon our collective heroism. That would be a very meaningful celebration of National Heroes Day.
It does not matter if history will relegate us as faceless heroes.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on August 26, 2013.