By Gem Suguitan

Covid-19 pandemic at its height, elicited fear among the people. The future was uncertain. While the pandemic status has not yet been totally lifted, we can tell ourselves that we survived. What is in store in the future, no one can tell. But we can make do of the present to be worthy of living as citizens of the world. 

Now that we are gradually being back to face-to-face meetings and celebrations, to socialization and mingling with others, the theme “Kabayanihan at Pagtindig sa Makabagong Panahon,” for the commemoration of Andres Bonifacio’s 159th Birth Anniversary proves that the value of heroism does not wane at any point in time. The struggle continues everyday, but citizens need to be steadfast and do what they need to do.

Every year on the 30th of November, the entire country remembers the heroism of Andres Bonifacio, the Supremo and unofficial first president of the Philippine Republic. It is a non-working holiday for a reason: so that we can honor his memory, look back at his life and reflect on ourselves. What can we contribute as individuals for the benefit of our country or even just our small communities to be worthy of the heroism of our forefathers who have lived in the dark hours of our history? 

We have monuments of our heroes, proof of how honorable and patriotic their lives had been, and how those who had it built venerate them. But where are we in respecting monuments? Those memorials need to be treated with utmost respect to the point of considering them sacred. 

There are at least seven Bonifacio monuments in Quezon: at the Heroes Park Poblacion 3 in Calauag, at the mountaintop in Zone II Poblacion in  Atimonan,   Pleasantville Subdivision in Brgy. Iyam in Lucena City, inside the campus of East Central School in Tayabas, at the park in Catanauan, in Pagbilao, and at the Marcos Tigla Park in Lucban. 

Social media has often pointed out how some people vandalize and trash monuments not in any particular place but generally. Even political candidates in the past elections are guilty of covering these revered places with tarpaulins. May we join in the campaign for awareness on how to respect the monuments of our heroes. Let it begin with us who understand what they are there for. Above all these, however, is the active participation in our society: for the monuments as well as for the living. 

Heroism is timeless. No school is needed to teach us about it. As human beings, our conscience would tell us whether we are doing the right thing or not. We are lucky that we are living today when an uprising is not needed to liberate the country. We are fortunate that we only need to think of what good things we can do for this nation. We can always think of ways how we can do better every day, and try to do a little more than ordinary.  One day, we will all be just stories in this world. Let the story of our lives be worth telling, and retelling, because it inspires and it lifts others up since we did well. Oh, the opposite of good is unacceptable.

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