THE historic region of Central Luzon is home to many places and landmarks which highlight the significant episodes that form part of our vibrant and remarkable history as a nation. From the ancient religious edifice in Barasoain, Malolos, to the towering view of the Mt. Samat Shrine in Bataan, one can relive and be apprised of the numerous important events that happened in each of the seven provinces in the region.
To most Filipinos, April 9 is but a mere holiday in commemoration of the Araw ng Kagitingan. But to us from these historic provinces in Region 3, this day marks the valour and martyrdom of our fallen heroes during the World War II. More than 76,000 Filipinos, Chinese and American soldiers endured the 90-mile Bataan Death March with thousands of them dying of hunger, dehydration, and sickness. This part in our history may have been ended with our defeat against the Japanese troops, but this does not mean that our soldiers did not give a good and hard fight. They, in fact, willed to perish instead of surrendering.
According to the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office of PVAO, this year’s theme is “Kagitingan ay Gawing Gabay, Pandemya ay Mapagtatagumpayan,” as "the celebration also serves as a reminder that through sheer courage and determination, much like how our Filipino veterans defended our country in the war, we can overcome our ongoing battle against Covid-19."
We know that the battle we are facing now is entirely different from the siege that happened 79 years ago. However, this times of adversity and uncertainty ultimately becomes the breeding ground for us to muster our courage and unite against the enemy that is called Covid-19.
As we celebrate the Day of Valor or Araw ng Kagitingan tomorrow, we salute our fallen heroes who sacrificed their lives for our freedom during the World War II, and at the same time, we also honor our modern heroes, our frontliners who are at the forefront of this battle against the deadly virus. We honor our medical frontliners particularly those who succumbed to Covid-19 as they carry out their duty of providing care to all those infected; our uniformed personnel who are providing the needed logistical support in implementing the quarantine measures, and most especially, our hardworking teachers who are also on their toes to ensure that education does not stop amidst the pandemic.
These faces are among our so-called modern-day heroes who are living up to the ideals of our war veterans and soldiers 79 years ago. May we all take inspiration from their courage and heroism as we face these trying times.