Monday, April 25, 2011

War Heroes

“Filipino guerillas make do with any head covering.”
This caption is displayed on a head gear woven from the leaves of a coconut tree. The head gear, picture below, was used as a helmet during the World War II and is now displayed as part of an exhibit to commemorate Philippine Veterans Week.

The World War II Traveling Exhibit at Glorietta 5 in Ayala Center, Makati City ran from April 9 to 15 and showcased various photos, videos and memorabilia of the war such as the coconut head gear.
Talk about courage and innovation, the Filipino way.
Consider this scenario:
Manila, Philippines 1946-The Japanese battleship has docked. An attack is imminent. One can hear the humming of a multitude of tora-tora swarming the Manila skies like flies on a dead carabao.
From afar, a big explosion was heard. It has began. The Japanese soldiers started advancing. Armed with long, powerful guns, the Japanese army swept the land like locusts. No stone was left unturned. The tanks began to roll. Each lumbering piece of war machinery exuded control over those it surveyed.
The attackers unleashed every power they could muster. Bullets were loaded. Guns were cocked. Canons were charged. Missiles were engaged.
The planes continue to circle above like vultures. There was no escape – by land or by air. Manila is under siege.
I only know these through movies.
I can not fathom and I won’t pretend to understand the gravity of being alive during the World War II. How much more if you have to hold a gun and fight–something which you never thought you’d do in your lifetime. The Filipino veterans are admirable even just for the fact that even without proper training, they never hesitated to answer the call of the country.
The World War II Traveling Exhibit did not attempt to show the horrors and atrocities of the war. Instead, it showed the beauty and glamour that radiates from exceptional individuals during those times of tribulations.
On one side of the photo exhibit, a photo shows a nun smiling, while on the background only the smoking remains of a bombed building is seen. On another, a list of military units with corresponding numbers is posted – but the numbers do not indicate casualties but the number of individuals who heed the call of duty. Yet on another area, it displayed various tools that the Filipino soldiers used during hard-pressed times, clearly showcasing their adept ability to innovate.
What is perhaps most amazing is the memory board, a blank wall where everyone is free to write anything they want. It is amazing to know how proud and grateful people are to the veterans.
“I’m the wife of Cpl. This” says one of the comments signed with the commenters full name. “I’m proud to be the daughter of Cpl. That” says another also signed with a full name. “You are the real heroes” another commenter says. Throughout the exhibit’s one-week display, the memory board was filled with these kinds of salutations.
I never lived through a war, and I pray I never have to. But it wouldn’t take a war survivor to know that these soldiers should be honored for what they did. They are all heroes.

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