Today, we celebrate the 30th anniversary of Sen. Benigno S. ‘Ninoy’ Aquino Jr.’s martyrdom as he was shot to death upon his return from the United States. As a champion of democracy and a prominent Martial Law critic, Ninoy serves as an inspiration for Filipinos in steering the country towards a brighter future. Here are five rays of wisdom and patriotic credo from a modern-day hero:
1. “We must transcend our petty selves, forget our hurts and bitterness, cast aside thought of revenge, and let sanity, reason, and above all, love of country prevail during our gravest hour.” Ninoy reminds us to set our individual agenda, and pursue the best interest of the country, especially during the most trying times.
2. “The only advice I can give you: live with honor and follow your conscience.” – Ninoy’s letter to Noynoy (Benigno Aquino III), August 25, 1973
3. “The moment you say no to tyranny, you are beginning the struggle, the long lonely road to freedom. And so I ask this afternoon, please say no and learn to say no. No to tyranny! No to corruption! No to all this degradation of human dignity! Because then, I feel the true air of your fathers who before you have shed their blood for our freedoms.” – Freedom rally symposium by the Movement for Free Philippines (MFP); Wilshire Ebell Theater in Los Angeles, California; February 15, 1981
4. “I have asked myself many times: Is the Filipino worth suffering, or even dying, for? Is he not a coward who would readily yield to any colonizer, be he foreign or homegrown? Is a Filipino more comfortable under an authoritarian leader because he does not want to be burdened with the freedom of choice? Is he unprepared, or worse, ill-suited for presidential or parliamentary democracy?
I have carefully weighed the virtues and the faults of the Filipino and I have come to the conclusion that he is worth dying for because he is the nation’s greatest untapped resource.” – Asia Society on August 4, 1980 in New York City
5. “There is no greater nation on earth than our Motherland. No greater people than our own. Serve them with all your heart, with all your might and with all your strength.” – Ninoy’s letter to Noynoy (Benigno Aquino III), August 25, 1973
In the face of a nation recuperating from floods, amongst many other national issues, a hero reminds us all.
Image by astronok