The Philippines celebrates the Araw ng Kagitingan or Day of Valor on April 9. Every year, we honor and pay tribute to the Filipino and American soldiers who laid their lives for our country during World War II. We salute the thousands who have suffered and died defending our country in the historic “Bataan Death March.”
I am proud to have been born and raised in Bataan, in our humble home in Mariveles. Perhaps this is where I developed my love and appreciation for history. Perhaps this is where my passion for heroism grew.
Whenever we hear of the word HERO, we immediately think of bravery and courage, mainly because of the idea that a hero died for the sake of his/her country. Or, perhaps in the modern age, we imagine heroes to have capes, an x-ray vision or a Batmobile in order for them to save the day.
Who is a hero?
Today, being a hero does not only mean having to give up one’s life for the sake of another (although that is still heroism).
A hero could be someone who puts other people’s needs before their own, someone whose desire to help others is far greater than their desire for personal gain.
A hero could be someone who chooses to serve his own country, despite the promise of a more comfortable and luxurious life abroad.
A hero could be someone who makes a difference in the lives of others by inspiring and empowering them to be excellent and great.
A hero could be someone who makes other people better and happy, despite having struggles and challenges to of his own to face.
A hero could be someone who ignites the passion in other people’s hearts to discover and realize their purpose in life.
A hero could be someone who perseveres and remains true to his vision, despite countless moments of rejection, criticism and betrayal.
A hero is someone who, while he climbs his way to success, brings other people along with him.
The hero could be you and me.
There is no need for an award or a newspaper headline in order to make someone a hero. It does not take any kind of superpower in order to be one, either. The truth is, the pureness of our heart and character is all that we need in order to become the hero that we wish to come and save us. The problem is many people look to others for help, not recognizing that they possess the power to become agents of positive social change.
So the next time you are tempted to look for the government official, celebrity or business man to save the day, look in the mirror and realize, perhaps you’re the hero the country has been waiting for all along.
Contributed By: Pocholo “The VoiceMaster” Gonzales