Today, 19 June 2011, is the 150th birth anniversary of Dr Jose Rizal (1861-1896), national hero of the Philippines.
He was a poet, artist, scholar, physician, swordsman, journalist, traveler, reformist, son, brother, lover, friend.
He was a writer whose many essays and two novels – Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo – shook an oppressive foreign colonial regime, woke a people’s sense of nationalism, and led to the establishment of a country. His beliefs never wavered and he remained steadfast, even as he was imprisoned and sentenced to death for those beliefs.
He was a fighter, who took up a pen instead of gun or sword to win our country’s freedom with thoughts and ideas rather than force.
He wa a martyr, shot by firing squad in a grassy field, twisting his body forward to face his executioners at the sound of the fusillade and falling with his face to the blue Philippine sky.
Today is also Father’s Day, yet we cannot wish him that. He was not a father. He didn’t have time.
Always remember, never forget, his love and sacrifice.
Maligayang ika-150 kaarawan, Gat. Jose Rizal.