National Heroes Day or Araw ng mga Bayani is commemorated to give honor to the country’s heroes. It actually marks the day when the Philippine Revolution started, which is also known as the Cry of Pugad Lawin and was led by a national hero himself, Andres Bonifacio. Who were these so-called heroes or what made them national heroes? These were the people who gave their all out of love for the country that nurtured them and would nurture future generations.
A conflicting (negative-positive) vibe came to mind while thinking of the stated holiday.
In a negative point of view…
Do we really mean when we say that we celebrate National Heroes Day? On this day, the nation exalts those who are called “modern day heroes”. These heroes are those who exemplify what it means to serve the country. Examples of whom are considered, as heroes are the policemen, fire fighters, Overseas Filipino Workers, nurses and the like. On this day, media portrays them as people who should be exemplified. These were observed through the different commercials, tarpaulins and products saying how they did much good with their ordinary heroism (which is considered as extraordinary) and how much gratitude the country owes them.
On a normal day though, these “modern heroes” are ignored. Some of them are even bashed like how incompetent, corrupt or lazy they are (specifically the policemen and traffic enforecers). On the other days of the year, the ordinary heroism they possess is just as it is described—ordinary. So this gets one thinking, do we really mean it when we say that we celebrate National Heroes Day or do we simply commemorate it for the sake of it?
On the positive note…
During this year’s National Heroes Day, a new revolution has started. This was the ‘Million People March’ held last August 26 at Luneta. Because of the recent events that had surfaced days before, the Filipino people rallied together to take action against the oppression that the country has been experiencing. They took a stand for the sake of their country. In a way, these people showed hero-like qualities. They showed the will and the courage that they are willing to fight for the Philippines and her countrymen. It may not be as big as the 1986 People Power Revolution, but the fact that they showed how much they care would have one like to believe that, at that moment, a huge wave of people had heroes’ hearts. It gives one comfort to see proof of how heroism is still alive today. From the elderly man who mustered strength to brave the heat, to the college student bellowing his cries for change, and the child who is merely starting to understand the events happening around her, heroism is within all of us. It is up to us to convert this passion and love for our country into change that will help make the Philippines a more prosperous and amazing place for future generations to live in. Let not the lives and sacrifices of our fallen heroes be in vain. We can all have a part in shaping what the future Philippines can and SHOULD be.
“Mamamatay akong hindi nakikita ang ningning ng bukang-liwayway sa aking Bayan! Kayong makakakita, salubungin ninyo siya, at huwag kalilimutan ang mga nabulid sa dilim ng gabi.” –Elias, from Dr. Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere
-Tan, Ma. Patricia C.