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Saturday, September 25, 2021

Message on National Heroes Day

Today, National Heroes’ Day, we remember the lives of our forebears who helped shape our nation, their bravery to fight for the country’s freedom, independence and democracy, and courage to face tremendous struggles, even treachery and death itself for the sake of these ideals.

We commemorate the heroism of Andres Bonifacio and the Katipunan whose Cry of Pugadlawin sparked the revolution against Spain and the sacrifices made by Jose Rizal, Antonio Luna, Macario Sakay and numerous others.We commemorate our country’s heroes because of the sacrifices they made for their compatriots, for the common good, for their motherland.

What makes a hero? That decision to forego one’s own safety and comfort to act towards a higher cause so that others might live in a better way and reach a better tomorrow. That decision to serve others, especially those who are powerless and voiceless, makes a hero.

Heroes are a product of their times. They responded to the call of their times and made sacrifices accordingly – from the Filipino revolutionaries who took up arms to thwart colonialism and to wage guerilla war against foreign invasion and collaboration to the struggles of the youth and the broad masses against dictatorship and for democratic space. Our country’s history is replete with heroism – we remember our heroes today but more importantly we commit to emulate their lives. They heeded the call of their times, it is our task to respond to the call of ours.

The Educators’ Forum for Development joins Filipino teachers in taking up the challenge to inspire one another and our students to commit to higher ideals and go beyond ourselves and convenience.

We can do this by drawing inspiration from present-day heroes – the health workers and other front liners battling the pandemic, the teachers who brave distances and hardships to help students in far-flung communities, the farmers and workers who continue to turn the wheel of economic production for the common good, the students who use their creativity and resourcefulness to help fellow students and even other sectors and spend their time immersing in communities, and many others.

We can be emboldened by listening to stories of various organizations and groups championing social change and calling for urgent reforms, some of them have even put their lives on the line for the majority’s sake.

Our times call for greater involvement by citizens. Taking up this challenge is our way of making sure the sacrifices of our heroes would live on.

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