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08/04/2009: Remarks of H.E. WILLY C. GAA, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Philippines to the United States, on the occasion of the reception commemorating Araw ng Kagitingan, 08 April 2009

Remarks of
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Philippines to the United States
On the occasion of the reception commemorating
Araw ng Kagitingan
08 April 2009


Today is a day of remembrance and honor.

We remember those who fought in defense of our nation and people so that we can live today in freedom and liberty.

In the darkest hours of our world’s collective 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 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.

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.

Today, we are blessed to have them join us as we give them honor: By recognizing their acts of courage and bravery; By being ever vigilant against any attempt at aggression and oppression in our country and beyond; And by doing our part in 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.

Our meaningful history has given us just cause to work together to safeguard the world from emerging threats of war and violence.

Our meaningful history has enabled us to transform relations with our neighbors into partnerships for peace and development and our friendships into alliances between sovereign equals.

Today, therefore, is also a day of gratitude and hope.

We say thank you to our gallant men and women and pledge anew to work for a stronger Republic, a more prosperous nation and a safer and secure world that generations after us will continue to enjoy.

Mabuhay ang Pilipinas, Mabuhay ang Sambayanang Pilipino.