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REDISCOVER Independence

Google's contribution to the 115th Philippine Independence Day celebration

A screen grab of Google’s contribution to the 115th Philippine Independence Day celebrations


It has been 115 years since Emilio Aguinaldo declared our independence from Spain and the surrounding events that led to it are still a subject of controversy until now: that it was too premature for Aguinaldo to claim independence on behalf of the country, when the Americans followed occupation, the World War I and World War II happened, the Japanese came, too.

Thus the debate that we should be celebrating our independence on July 4 instead of June 12 is valid, though at times we might think: does the date really matter if we do not really act, feel, think as free individuals?

Early this morning, a friend from Sweden asked me via Skype how do I celebrate Independence Day. I told him when I was in school, there were the mandatory flag raising ceremonies, declamation or oratorical contests with independence as theme, the Girl Scout-led or Citizen’s Military Training activities, the field trips to historical sites. But I do not do any of those now.

The chat I had with my friend made me think: Am I really free? Are we really deserving of the freedom our heroes fought for us?

Individually, we claim independence when we finished school and move away from our parents’ guidance.

We tie ourselves to the tyranny of our jobs.

We depend on our salaries to live.

We are up to our necks paying the bills, consolidating debts, owing more to satisfy the lifestyle we set for ourselves.

We stay in a relationship even if it is not worth it because we do not want to be physically alone and intimacy starved.

As a consolation to ourselves, we declare freedom from our daily grind on national holidays like today or the long weekends or max out our leaves from work.

And most likely, our way of celebrating our country’s Independence Day anniversary today is lining up for the Man of Steel opening day.

Regardless, what we have now is a choice we made. The decisions our country’s leaders make definitely affect us. But we must responsibly, individually claim our independence as conscientious, law-abiding, God-respecting Filipinos and citizens of the world.

As our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal aptly puts it:

Our liberty will not be secured at the sword’s point… We must secure it by making ourselves worthy of it. And when the people reaches that height, God will provide a weapon, the idols will be shattered, tyranny will crumble like a house of cards, and liberty will shine out like the first dawn.

Let us all work for our freedom, one task at a time.

Let us all share the blessings of being free, even in the littlest way we can.

Let us all grow ourselves, free of pain, hurt, and our dark pasts.

Let us all look forward to our brightest future. And that brightest future will only happen if we start now.

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