MANILA–The Philippines on Sunday will commemorate its 75th Day of Valor (Araw ng Kagitingan).
In commemoration of the day, the Philippine News Agency (PNA) approached some artists to ask them what the “Araw ng Kagitingan” means to them.
”It means a lot to honor the veterans/heroes by remembering their contributions to our country,” said painter Ed de Guzman. ”They have shown their love for the country by giving their own lives to achieve peace and freedom.”
The painter from Quezon City observed that in this digital age, it seems like the youth has forgotten such Filipino values as love for country.
Teaching these values in school must thus be strengthened, he said.
”It’s also important that the government focuses on the veterans’ concerns to give them better hope, and so that the future generations would see these veterans as models in fighting for the country,” said de Guzman.
Visual artist Aleili Ariola-Oclos’ grandparents are veterans. “We just need to listen to their stories,” she noted. ”Even though they may be repeating those stories, it is important for them to feel that you are willing to listen, and that you have a heart to know their story.”
Ariola-Oclos emphasized that taking care of them means more to them than any award they could receive.
”Sometimes, it’s not the material things that people need in order to say that they are valued. To make them feel that we are truly grateful is what matters,” the young visual artist from Cavite pointed out.
Every time she hears “Bataan”, she said she remembers her grandparents’ story.
”My grandfather said he marched while his foot was tied with a chain. My grandmother, on the other hand, pretended to be a man to avoid being raped by the Japanese,” she said.
For Aleili, “Araw ng Kagitingan” is not just for those who fought with weapons in their hands, but for everyone who did everything to fight for their families and their countrymen.
”We must respect not just the veterans, but all the elderly,” she remarked.
Her painter husband, Archie, said veterans deserve love and honor.
”They have sacrificed their lives for the benefit of many, and they have served the country without asking for anything in return,” he told PNA.
This is why, for Archie, commemorating the Day of Valor is also recognizing the bravery of Filipino veterans.
Archie’s works include murals that can be found in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, and in Dasmariñas, Cavite. Most of his artworks depict the lives of farmers and fisherfolk.
The government, for its part, wants to echo the message that as Filipinos enjoying their freedom today, they must continue to immortalize the selfless heroic sacrifices of the veterans.
For this year’s observance, the government has chosen the theme, “Parangal sa mga Beterano, Tungo sa Bayan na Nararapat sa mga Pilipino, mga Pilipino na Nararapat sa Bayan”.
A series of commemorative events and replication ceremonies had been lined up to show the nation’s gratitude and appreciation for the veterans.
Through these activities, the government aims to instill a sense of national pride and patriotism among Filipinos.
Furthermore, by commemorating “Araw ng Kagitingan”, the government targets to prepare the youth to be the nation’s future defenders, emulating the veterans’ values.