This is supposed to be a blog post about “National Heroes’ Day,” a public holiday I know so little about that I actually had to google it to find out *what day it fell on.
When it comes to national holidays and *nullidays, I’ve never really been one to remember important dates. Off the top of my head, I can say that I’m familiar with “Araw ng Kalayaan (June 12),” …and that’s about it. Lame, I know.
*last Monday of August. Thanks, Wikipedia!
**Nulliday: A “holiday” that either
a. doesn’t get classes cancelled
b. falls on a weekend
such that its tangible effects on students nationwide is effectively zero.
On the subject of significant dates in Philippine history, I can’t really say that I know a fair number of them. I can recall Jose Rizal’s death (December 30), but not his birth (June 19). I’m fairly certain that the People Power Revolution anniversary falls somewhere in February (the 25?), but I’m not even sure of what month Corazon Aquino had died in (it was August).
At the time of this writing, I admit that I am not exactly ashamed for not knowing more important historic days. While these dates commemorate key moments in Philippine history, as well as the lives of great Filipinos, the actual anniversaries themselves do not seem to have much of an obvious effect in the present day. Call it selfish, call it sad, but a person’s capacity to remember and appreciate history is more or less proportional to how much he or she appreciates it.
This does not mean that the person has zero appreciation for Philippine history, or that said person doesn’t care about the acts of people long gone. It merely suggests that the simple act of remembrance can be easily lost, drowned out in the numerous distractions and obligations of day-to-day living.
Going back to the topic of National Heroes’ Day, I’d also learned from my google-wikipedia search that N.H.D. commemorates the “Cry of Pugad-Lawin.”3 While it may be true that the Katipunan’s bold act of defiance set in motion the events that led to the Philippine independence we all enjoy today, how many of you spent N.H.D thinking, “wow, I’m so thankful for the Cry of Pugad Lawin!” If you didn’t, does that mean freedom means nothing to you? No, it simply means that it’s a little confusing for a modern-day Filipino to try contextualize a bunch of guys ripping their tax forms up because they’ve had enough of the government’s **t .4
3The exact date and actual historical impact of the Cry of Pugad-Lawin are still debated. Thank you, Kas 1.
4Actually, that seems pretty straightforward. Um, what point was I trying to make again?
Having said all that, I will state that the Philippines still needs its National Heroes’ Day. The deeds of our past heroes must always be celebrated somehow, even if all they receive is a passing thought. Every passing year takes us farther away from the times they lived in, yet further into the world they helped build. The least we can do as free people is spend a National Heroes’ Day, even a simple national heroes minute, thinking about what they’ve done.
Or at least remember what day it’s on.