Monday, July 4, 2011

Fourth of July


Yesterday, I watched a film I have already had been watching many times over on DVD called "Independence Day." It's a sci-fi story about an alien invasion of Earth, focusing on a disparate group of individuals and families as they converge in the Nevada desert and, along with the rest of the human population, participate in a last-chance counterattack on July 4--the same date as the Independence Day holiday in the United States. Which I would sometimes find myself asking: "why can't we humans unite to fight a common foe like in that Independence Day film so we could stop fighting against each other?" The whole of the human race then would be celebrating Independence Day every Fourth of July.

There was a time when the Philippines and the United States shared the same date for Independence Day celebration: the Fourth of July. The United States of America granted the Philippines its independence on July 4, 1946, being the first country in the world to have gained independence after World War II. The Philippines has long ago declared its independence from Spain on June 12, 1898 (to become Asia's first republic) under the leadership of General Emelio Aguinaldo, but not from the Americans who would take over what the Spaniards have left out.

US Admiral Dewey's victory against the Spaniards in what was the Battle of Manila Bay served as an exclamation point ending the Spanish-American war. The Filipinos fought back the occupying American forces in what was the bloody Filipino-American war but with the capture of General Emelio Aguinaldo by the Americans forced the revolutionaries to surrender. And so began the American occupation of the Philippines until after the Second World War.

The Philippines and the United States shared the same date for Independence Day celebration until Philippine president Diosdado Macapagal later on changed it to June 12 and July 4 has since became the Filipino-American Friendship Day. Filipino-American relationship has so far been good, almost like a husband and wife one in comparison. Filipino troops fought alongside American forces during World War II and also in the wars that followed especially the Korean War. And, like a husband and wife, there are times when the marriage is put to the test but could always be settled out in the end and work together for the common good.

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