In celebration of our 114th Independence Day last June 12, I believe there’s a need for me to acknowledge the collective patriotic struggles of the noble heroes from our past who championed the freedom we Filipinos have been relishing today. First in rank according to the historians is our national hero Dr. Jose Rizal, a literary genius who was executed for his brave exposition of the ills of the Spanish Clergy through his two poignant novels “Touch Me Not” and “The Filibuster.” Then there’s our second national hero Andres Bonifacio, who physically went to battle against the Spaniards with his army of brave soldiers, in his determination to restore our nation’s identity which got lost during the 300 years of Spain’s colonial rule. The former believed in the power of the pen whilst the latter stood for the might of the sword. I am not the one to uphold the verity of the maxim “the ink of a scholar is worth a thousand times more than the blood of a martyr.” I adore the two men above equally. It’s not fair to say one has done a better job fighting for our country’s independence compared to the other. That goes for all the intrepid souls in our history who devotedly engaged themselves to bring back the glory of our motherland. Their passions had all been intense, their participation all worthy of supreme recognition.
And who can ever forget the approximately 20,000 Filipino and American soldiers who perished as prisoners of war due to starvation, illness and murder in the Bataan week-long Death March of WWII?
I feel a stir in my heart thinking about such formidable periods of our history and what our valiant heroes gave up for the benefit of the future generations. I confess to being a bit apathetic about the sacrifices they made when I was younger, but things do change as one gets older. I must really have taken things for granted.
“I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is the moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.” – Vince Lombardi
Independence and freedom aren’t mutually exclusive traits. They are rather abstract conditions in which many have dedicated their lives and even died for.
To be able to stand on your own two feet by pursuing your own path. This isn’t just the goal of every nation but of every individual as well.
A favorite female blogger recently asked her readers in her blog what circumstances normally bring them peace and happiness in their lives. I commented by saying those desirable frames of mind are attainable only when I’m free from wretched emotions that tend to imprison me in inexorable ways. It isn’t easy though given my sometimes impetuous and high-spirited nature. Certain people are able to hammer down the walls I’ve built and as a result, I become vulnerable falling into emotional traps which take considerable time to extract myself from. And that got me pondering as well about the few other freedoms I appreciate in my life which I believe has been facilitated by my present status as an independent woman. The other kinds of individual autonomy I’m currently enjoying are:
-Freedom to choose the people I allow to set foot in my life.
-Freedom to be the kind of woman I want to be.
-Freedom to run away from circumstances that could only bring me unnecessary grief and/or an oppressive state of mind.
-Freedom to engage in activities that give me pleasure and fulfillment.
-Freedom to express my thoughts, sensibilities, convictions, and whatnot.
Last but not the least, freedom to be able to walk on the face of this planet feeling happy and proud for being the kind of person that I am.