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09/04/2010: Statement of H.E. Willy C. Gaa, Ambassador of the Philippines to the United States of America, on the Occasion of Araw ng Kagitingan

Statement of H.E. Willy C. Gaa
Ambassador of the Philippines to the United States of America
on the Occasion of Araw ng Kagitingan
09 April 2010

Today is a day of remembrance and honor.

We remember those who defended our nation and people so that we can live today in freedom and liberty – our World War II veterans.

In the darkest hours of our world’s history, they were beacons of valor and hope.

While others showed their propensity to maim, destroy and kill, our heroic men and women were there to give aid, to protect and to save lives even at the expense of their own.

Millions suffered during the Second World War.  Too many throughout Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao had horrific tales to tell of pain, anguish and destruction.  Thousands fell on the wayside from Bataan to Tarlac in the infamous Death March.

The images continue to haunt us.  And those memories behoove us to recall their gallantry with gratitude.

We will never forget the supreme sacrifice our countrymen made.

The mantle that protects us now was forged in the violent heat of the battlefields in the Bataan peninsula and throughout our archipelago and the  peace we enjoy now was fought – and won - amid the deafening din of the guns of war.

We owe our greatest generation a debt of gratitude that we – and all freedom loving peoples of the world – can only repay by honoring them, by being ever vigilant against any attempt at aggression and oppression in our country and beyond, and by pursuing greater peace, progress and prosperity in the Philippines and throughout the world.

Indeed, as we remember our past, we look forward to building a better shared future.

Mabuhay ang Pilipinas, Mabuhay ang Sambayanang Pilipino!