MANILA, Aug. 29 – The Philippine Army is one with the entire nation as it celebrates National Heroes' Day on August 30 in honor of all Filipinos, including those whose names have been lost to history, from pre-Spanish time to the present, who suffered martyrdom in defense of the country against foreign invaders or in the attainment of freedom and democracy for the countrymen.
For this years celebration, dubbed as Pagpugay ng Sundalo sa Makabagong Bayaning Pilipino, the Philippine Army selected youths from different sectors of the society as the honorees, said Army spokesman Col. Antonio Parlade Jr.
"The activity aims to educate and to instill to the present generation and the future heroes of the Filipinos, the youth, the sense of nationalism and patriotism," he added.
According to Parlade, simple but meaningful commemorative activities are lined-up for the day, to be highlighted by wreath-laying rites at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Fort Bonifacio.
This will be followed by a tour of the participants inside the Army camp such as the Philippine Army Museum, the Fort Andres Bonifacio Endangered Indigenous Tree Sanctuary (FABEITS) and the Memorial Statue of GAT Andres Bonifacio.
"This signifies that though the Filipinos do not know the names and history of the soldiers who died fighting in the battlefield, the citizens shall forever be grateful for their heroism and patriotism," Parlade stressed.
Participants will also have an opportunity to witness the static and kinetic display from the Armys Scout Rangers and Special Forces and K-9 Units.
They will also be entertained by a Silent Drill presentation from an all-female Philippine Army soldier contingent. Likewise, the Armys Disaster Rescue, Relief and Rehabilitation Operations (DRRRO) Group will demonstrate their capabilities on the call of disaster.
Following the tour will be the closing ceremony with Defense Secretary Voltaire T. Gazmin, as the guest of honor and speaker.
Gazmin will lead the awarding of one housing unit as part of the Build-a-House Project of the Center for International Education, to be followed by a manifesto signing by all participants.
The country's celebration of National Heroes' Day was established on October 28, 1931 through Act No. 3827 by the Philippine Legislature, which the celebration of the event was done every last Sunday of August.
President Benigno S. Aquino III has declared August 30 as a National Holiday in observance of National Heroes' Day.
"At present, we remember these heroes of our nation, men and women who lived and died for our freedom and independence, and also men and women who work for peace, unity, integrity and truth," said Parlade.
"The Philippine Army commemorates the National Heroes' Day with the hope that our heroes' sacrifices will keep the flame of nationalism alive not just in every soldier but in all citizens, especially the youth, as well," he added.
"As Andres Bonifacio wrote: 'Ang mga bayang nilitawan ng mga bayani ay walang kamatayan' (A country where heroes emerge is immortal)," Parlade said. (PNA)