The legacy of Cebu’s ‘Grand Old Man’
The “grand young man ever of Cebu.”
This interesting twist to Don Sergio Osmeña’s title as the “Grand Old Man of Cebu” came from one of his better known grandchildren, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña, in a speech yesterday to commemorate the 138th birth anniversary of the country’s fourth president.
“Every year, we celebrate the birthday of Don Sergio Osmena Sr., and every year, we refer to him as the ‘Grand Old Man of Cebu.’ But if you analyze his life, he had a bigger accomplishment as a young man, and I think he should serve as an inspiration for our generation,” the mayor said.
Tomas pointed out the irony of Don Sergio’s tag as “grand old man” as he was only 27 years old when chosen governor of Cebu and only 29 when he became the youngest member of the first Philippine Assembly.
According to Tomas, the accomplishment and legacy of Don Sergio should serve as an inspiration to the youth that one does not have to be a “lolo” (grandfather) to be a leader.
“I hope this should instill faith in our youth today because you keep referring to him as a ‘grand old man,’ but many of our best leaders in the Philippines were all young,” he said.
“They were not grand old men. From Ninoy Aquino to del Pilar, think about them. Jose Rizal. They were not old at all. They were in their thirties,” the mayor pointed out.
Don Sergio’s great grandson, Rogelio Osmeña Jr., who spoke on behalf of the Osmeña clan, said that the life of Don Sergio was defined by his successes as much as his struggles.
“Like the grand old man, we are faced with the option of allowing our trials to get the better of us, to lose hope, to be self-centered, to be in despair,” he said.
“But we can also be as grand as Don Sergio, who opted to view our difficulties as tests of character, opportunities for growth and a call to look outward to help others who may be in more dire circumstances than us,” Rogelio added.
The celebration, held at the Osmeña marker in the corner of Lapu-Lapu and S. Osmeña Streets in downtown Cebu City, started with a mass officiated by Fr. Raul Cabulao, OSA, followed by a floral offering.
The event was attended by several members of the Osmeña clan, including Toledo City Mayor John Henry “Sonny” Osmeña.
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