Day of valor includes SAF 44
In remembering soldiers who died for the country in the 1942 Fall of Bataan, an 87-year-old war veteran in Cebu city said the day’s honor extends to the 44 Special Action Force commandos who were killed last January in Mamasapano.
“In English, Araw ng Kagitingan is translated as Day of Valor. Valor means great courage in the face of danger. I included in my speech not only the soldiers of Bataan but all soldiers who showed valor,” said Lt. Angelo D. Alo, District Commander of the 2nd Cebu City Veterans District.
He said the day’s recognition extends to the sacrifice of other modern-day heroes, such as men and women of the police force.
Flowers, speeches and the salutes of surviving war veterans were offered yesterday morning at the Cebu Veterans Memorial Monument in Plaza Independencia in Cebu City.
Cebu City Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella said it is important to remember the past because it was through the sacrifice of brave soldiers during World War II that Filipinos enjoy freedom today.
“It is my fervent hope that our heroes have not died in vain,” he said, adding that the battles fought today are in the political and economic arena.
He challenged people to unite against corruption and injustice.
Labella attended the rites instead of Mayor Michael Rama who flew to Seoul, South Korea for an official trip. (See related story.)
The solemn memorial was attended by members of the Veterans Federation of the Philippines Cebu City Chapter, Cebu City Councilors James Cuenco and Nendell Hanz Abella, some Cebu City barangay captains, City Hall department heads, men and women of the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO, members of the Armed forces of the Philippines Central Command, Philippine Marines, Philippine Navy, Philippine Boy Scouts, Knights of Rizal, Knights of Columbus and some tourists.
The guest of honor was Shigeyuki Hirakawa, Counselor of the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines.
In Mandaue City, Mayor Jonas Cortes and local officials held a short program and laid down a floral offering at 6 a.m. at City Hall.
“We can also be modern heroes by just doing our duties religiously and doing the right thing regardless of the consequences,” Cortes said.
He cited as an example the 44 fallen SAF commandos, and NGOs and volunteers who helped survivors of the 2013 supertyphoon Yolanda, groups that initiated scholarships for the poor and a teacher’s dedication in promoting quality education.
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