By Francis Wakefield
The bravery of Filipino war veterans will be in the forefront once again as the country celebrates the 77th Araw ng Kagitingan (ANK) in Bataan on Tuesday, April 9.
According to the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO), tomorrow’s celebration is the culmination of the week-long observance of the 2019 Philippine Veterans Week (PVW) which has a theme – “Sakripisyo ng Beterano ay Gunitain, Gawing Tanglaw ng Kabataan Tungo sa Kaunlaran”.
PVAO said this year’s celebration underscores the sacrifices of our war veterans and urges our youth to draw inspiration from this selfless act of giving oneself so that they too can contribute to the ad¬vancement of this nation.
The annual Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor) is a national observance in the Philippines which commemorates the fall of Bataan during World War II.
PVAO said the national observance aims to revive the principles of “Kagitingan” or the culture of heroism and love for country, strengthen the Filipino people’s collective sense of national pride and patriotism, and inspire the youth who will eventually take on the mantle of being our future defenders and leaders, imbibing the valor and ideals of our veterans as their guiding principles.
“The purpose of history is to learn from it. A nation ignorant of its past, after all, will never truly progress. This is the very reason events and commemorations such as these are celebrated, especially on a national level, in order to emphasize the role and efforts of our veterans in contributing to the freedom and democracy our nation enjoys today,” PVAO said in a statement.
“These events do not only value and honor the memory of the wars fought before, but more so, the people who were there when it happened. We live freely because they fought bravely,” it added.
In accordance with Proclamation No. 466, s. 1989, the Philippine Veterans Week is celebrated from April 5 to 11 every year to promote, preserve, and memorialize the principles, ideas, and deeds of our war veterans as a means to enhance patriotism and love for country, especially among the youth of the land.
Meanwhile, April 9 of every year is designated by Executive Order No. 203, s.1986 as Araw ng Kagitingan to honor the Filipino men and women who served and defended the Philippines during war and peacetime.