On Independence Day

No hero or saint or martyr is without fear or free from doubt.

If I were to visualize Rizal at the time when his execution date neared, I’d imagine him undergoing a Garden of Gethsemane experience.

He was in the prime of his life. The world was just beginning to know his brilliance. He was on his way. Then too there was Josephine. He could see his future with her. Children even. And there was his mother. Surely she did not suffer the pains of birthing him only to see him throw his own life away? How could a son break his mother’s heart? And he was a good son.

These thoughts tortured him. The agony was all the more heightened because the alternative was within easy reach. He’d only have to call the guard who he’d send to the Governor informing him that he’d recant and have considered the offer. Surely to choose life with all its daily challenges is also heroic?

Recant! the small voice reproved him. And this from the mind behind Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo! The small voice now laughed. And jeered. Damaso! Damaso!

Oh, what to do?

Then it dawned on Rizal that unless he made a decision these thoughts won’t leave him and he’d be in a perpetual state of torture. He made a choice. Having cast it, he got up and was led away to own up with the consequence of that choice.

In his last hours, purportedly at

12:00 – 4:00 a.m.
Rizal sleeps restfully because his confidence in the goodness of God and the justness of his cause gives him astounding serenity and unusual calmness.

There is no greater love than to lay down one’s own life for a friend, it is said. Jose Rizal leads the hero pack who gained for the Philippines its series of independence. All our national heroes laid down their lives and while at it projected their minds to future generations of Filipinos. Their friends. Us. Now. Yes, they decided, it was all worth it.

However, I don’t think the hero pack from wherever they are now is all smiles at their country’s situation and what their friends are doing about it. They’ve noticed their friends still not getting the dance moves right, because a bizarre version of the Cha Cha is shaking up the dance floor, many years now.

And this has caused our heroes to have second thoughts. Did they give up their own dreams and lives in vain? Was it a bad decision after all?

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