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National Heroes Day musings

We honor our heroes today, not just those who figured in our history and whose names we had memorized while still in elementary and high school, but also current day men and women who have died for our country, or put their lives at risk so that their countrymen could live in freedom and peace.
It’s not just the dead who are heroes. Every man or woman who has served in the armed services and law enforcement is also a hero. When a person is willing to give up his or her life to protect our institutions, he is elevated to that status as well.
Ordinary people can also be heroes. We have seen countless examples of individuals braving fires, or rough seas, or any other dangerous situation, to save lives. We witnessed this kind of heroism a month ago when three pumpboats capsized in the Iloilo Strait, sending 31 passengers to their deaths. Without hesitation, porters and crew members of other pumpboats rushed to the scene of the accidents to rescue the victims. We can only imagine how many more lives were lost without these heroes.
It’s unfortunate that as a people, we don’t really show appreciation for the sacrifice our heroes have had to do for our nation and for our people. On National Heroes Day, most of us look at it as a public holiday, a long weekend. This is perhaps one of the reasons we haven’t developed a strong sense of patriotism.
I salute our heroes, both living and the dead. I hope their sacrifices will ultimately build a badly-needed patriotism among our people.
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