Lately, we’ve been seeing Filipinos chiming in on the the occassion of Remembrance Day. Remembrance Day (sometimes known informally as Poppy Day) is a memorial day observed in Commonwealth of Nations member states since the end of the First World War to remember the members of their armed forces who have died in the line of duty. Following a tradition inaugurated by King George V in 1919, the day is also marked by war remembrances in many non-Commonwealth countries. Remembrance Day is observed on 11 November in most countries to recall the end of hostilities of World War I on that date in 1918. Hostilities formally ended “at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month”, in accordance with the armistice signed by representatives of Germany and the Entente between 5:12 and 5:20 that morning. (“At the 11th hour” refers to the passing of the 11th hour, or 11:00 am.)
While it is good that Filipinos are participating in the commemoration of those who had served and died with honour in the Great War, it is important that Filipinos too look inward and reflect on their regard for their own fighting men and women. War memorials and dates that commemorate great battles and the people who fought and contributed to their countries’ effort to put up a good fight figure prominently in the cultural fabric of great nations. Filipinos need to consider whether commensurate honour is accorded to the efforts of their men and women in uniform to defend their way of life, their territories and national interests, and the security and wellbeing of the public.
Soldiers, above all, fight and are prepared to do so in the most real and most tangible sense. They are trained to kill and destroy the enemy and are armed with weapons that require aiming at specific targets to effectively achieve that end. The duty of soldiers is to fight. That statement offers no ambiguity in what it means to fight. Soldiers fight in order to achieve specific objectives that contribute to winning a battle that determines the outcome of a war that results in ends of clear national consequence. As such, people of societies with strong martial traditions are a people who are consistently clear about who they fight, when to fight, and what they fight for when called to fight.
Clear, concise, and complete.
Filipinos who served or underwent ROTC and Citizen’s Military Training will have been fully-appraised on the importance of these three C’s that describe how the military communicates. We see this in the economical use of words used in the message in very Commonwealth war memorial: Lest we forget. This is really all that the average soldier who dies with his or her buddies — often in the anonymity of a violent moment — and his or her family ask of us — that we remember.
Remembrance Day is not relevant to most Filipinos. This specially considers that theirs is a society that routinely demonises their fighting men and women for the purposes of propping up the ill-conceived notion of a Laban (“fight”) that is but a sad pale shadow of what a true fight is in the real sense of that word. But we see today an opportunity to reflect on our own regard for our military men and women. Do Filipinos deserve soldiers who harbour an unconditional preparedness to fight and die for them? To answer that question requires Filipinos to take stock of all the facts about their society and culture and the amount of time and resources they put into remembering — and sustaining a state of acute awareness of — what it means to be a real soldier who fights real battles.
[NB: Parts of this article were lifted from the Wikipedia.org article “Remembrance Day” in a manner compliant to the terms stipulated in the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License that governs usage of content made available in this site.]
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