The “now” we find ourselves in has been made possible by the lives of those who came before us – those who took up the fight for an independent country. The “now” we are living in right now is the “future” those heroes were fighting for; therefore, it is an inheritance from the past. Thanks to those courageous and selfless individuals who refused to be trapped in the hands of the oppressors and who believed that there must be a better way to live.

It is therefore important to commemorate and honor during National heroes’ day the fearless individuals of the past. We ought to remember those who made sacrifices in service to our country – giving their lives so that we would and will continue to be free every single day. Has being a hero ceased to exist the moment those people achieved freedom for the country? Aren’t we all supposed to do our share to ensure that the inheritance given to us will not be in vain?

I reckon that all of us Filipinos have the equal opportunity and chance in the betterment of this country. However, it is in our discretion if we would use that opportunity. Being a hero is an act of the will – either we waste the opportunity and just go with the motions or believe that we can do something for our country. I believe that anyone who opts for the latter can be a hero.

But it doesn’t just stop with just believing that anyone can be a hero. Action is the most crucial part, for without it, we are only a mere resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. Because if we really are driven by a passionate desire to do something beneficial to society, we cannot afford to do nothing. If you are turning that desire into action by doing something to fight for a better social order, for the rights of women to be treated equally, for the rights of children not to be abused, you are a hero. If you try to be great at your job, or helping an old woman cross the street, or keeping a smile on people’s faces and making sure they feel important, you are a hero. Being a hero isn’t that complicated. There are many ways of doing things where you put others and the society before yourself.

Do not just sit trying to manufacture negative feelings that you cannot do anything for the country; act as if you already did. Ask yourself, ’If I were sure that I love my country and I want to do something beneficial, what would I do?’ When you have found the answer, go and do it.

Knowing that you are doing something beneficial for the country and not for the sake of merely boasting but because of a sincere desire to see this country changed is really fulfilling. The label ‘bayani’ is – as Renato Constantino Jr once said – ‘a badge of honor that should be worn proudly.’

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