The ninth day of April, which is marked red in all Philippine calendars, is a national holiday to honor the brave Filipino and American soldiers who perished during World War II (most particularly in Bataan and Corregidor areas) defending the Philippine Islands against Japanese invasion. It is called Bataan Day, or what is now known as the Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor). The Philippines then, under the protectorate of colonial America, was under attacked by the occupational Imperial forces of Japan, shortly right after the surprise attack in Pearl Harbor by the Japanese which prompted the Americans to declare war against. The rest is history.
But history, like a scenario in a novel where the writer finds it exciting to surprise his readers, applied a sudden twist to the plot. America and Japan are now not just close friends, but mutual allies as well. Filipino and American relations almost collapsed when the Philippine senate voted against the Philippine-US Bases Treaty back in 1991. But divorce is not an option for the love-hate relationship these two nations have gone through. The Philippines remained a loyal ally to America, though.
To honor our fallen heroes requires a deeper sense of understanding for the sacrifices they have made for our freedom, liberty, and ideals. They all died an honorable death; some of whom were not even recognized or known. They all deserve our sincerest admiration, respect, and tribute.
We must not also forget, as we honor our World War II-era freedom fighters on April ninth, to recognize our living heroes of the present time in the same level we have given our great fallen ones. Time has changed and new enemies emerged. We now have a bully, land-grabber neighbor to deal with, corrupt government officials, traitors, and destabilizers of the state.
To our OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers), defenders of a nationalistic cause, honest-to-goodness workers (in private or public offices and institutions), brave soldiers who risk their lives fighting for the country, the small contingent of marines stationed in a dilapidated Philippine navy commissioned ship BRP Sierra Madre at Ayungin shoal, and to all the Filipino people who made a difference in their lives, Mabuhay po kayo!