Monday August 20, 2018

Fernando: Independence Day

I COULD have written a different topic like the foundation day of Baguio City National High School, the endless issue of hype beast, or the dynasty of Golden State Warriors in the NBA but I chose the reason why Tuesday was a holiday, Independence Day. Why not? It is still the best thing we’ve got.

The many flags hanging on the street lights provide a sense of patriotism but I always feel the government’s effort in celebrating Independence Day is not enough. I just feel they could do more for people to understand what this day means to this country and its people. We could use a parade of soldiers not just in the main streets of the city but in places where ordinary people reside. I would appreciate to see war veterans parade in their old uniforms. A show of gallantry that depicts the victory of our country towards independence might make people appreciate this holiday.

There was a great cost in obtaining this independence. Whenever I think of it, I could imagine Ka Andres Bonifacio swinging his “bolo” against the mighty invaders. Outnumbered and overpowered, his troupe charged ready to die for flag and country.

I could imagine Gat Jose Rizal in his effort to face the firing squad before he fell on the ground to remind the world that he never betrayed the Philippines, his country. Perhaps it was the other way around.

He could have spent his final years comfortably in the bosom of Europe with his esteemed reputation yet he chose to go back to the country and ignite a war. How about the infamous Gomburza trial or the Death March? I could not mention all the struggles of this country in her endeavor to attain freedom. I can only say the struggle was tough and bloody.

Independence was the collective effort of Filipino patriots. It was not only a work of the heroes in Manila but the toil of many people from the different provinces of the country. When there was uprising in Cavite, there were revolutions in central Luzon. When the oppressors climb the mountains in the north, mighty warriors of this region faced them instantly. We lost many lives during the war. People gave their lives for Philippine independence.

People today must understand the difficulty in achieving this independence and so we cannot just take this freedom for granted. We cannot just waste the opportunity of going to school. We cannot remain silent in the midst of injustices. Our patriots who handed us this independence so we can take care and love our own people.

Independence must remind us of the characters of those who fought for it. They showed patriotism, loyalty, selflessness, unity, trust, hope, bravery, and perseverance. They believe in the bright future of the country and so they found a reason to fight no matter the cost. If people will understand this today, they might find a deeper meaning in singing the Philippine National Anthem. They might better understand the meaning of the “Panunumpa ng Katapatan sa Watawat ng Pilipinas.”

People might value their work more. Filipinos might develop loyalty to Philippine products. Filipinos might not cheat other Filipinos. We might not throw our trash on the streets and rivers. We might develop a sense of pride for being Filipinos.

For many Filipinos, June 12 is just a holiday. It remains insignificant in the lives of many and treated only as a thing in the past. This is because most of us do not have idea of how independence was attained. It is because many of us fail to understand its magnitude to our present lives.

“Independence Day” is the greatest achievement of Filipinos in 400 years, perhaps even in 500 years. It was the beginning of finding our identity as Filipinos. It was the ransom given for the suffering and deaths of thousand citizens. It was the end of an invader’s tyranny. It serves as a reminder that tyranny will end and tyrants have no place in the world. It was a symbol of the Filipinos’ equal status with others; not inferiors to superiors, not slaves to masters.

Tuesday should not only be remembered as a rainy day event. The 3.commemoration of our Independence Day must be felt for Filipinos to understand what it means, what it says, and what it asks. For me, I say beat the gongs and the drums, open the treasury and make this a grand celebration, because this day should make us feel proud and grateful. Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!