I don’t much feel like celebrating Independence Day this year and that is sad for me as it is one of my favorite holidays. I am so in awe of those who have dedicated their lives so that we have our freedoms and have been able to keep those freedoms for more than 2 ¼ centuries. I am so appreciative of the fact that I was born and raised in this country and therefore, my freedom came as part of my birthright. I feel so fortunate to live in what I believe is the greatest country in the world.But, I am so saddened by what I have been seeing lately with regard to those who are abusing their freedoms by mistreating others in so many arenas without giving it a second thought.
With freedom and independence comes the right to do and be and live as we choose. We are free to choose our political views, our religions, our work, etc. We have the right to vote for whom we wish to represent us and what laws should govern us. But, for many, their responsibilities stop there. They want their freedoms as long as they don’t have to do anything to earn them or support them or work for them. They want peace in the world but that is for someone else to figure out how to get it. They want for so many things and for so much in their lives but are not willing to work for it in the same way as so many before us who fought for our independence and who struggled to make a life for themselves and their families in this land of opportunity.
Just look around you and see what has been going on. In so many homes, there is little or no love or time for one another as everyone has become so driven to focus on the ways that they can get more stuff and keep up with having the best of everything. So much has become all about appearances. Everyone is too busy trying to reach the top that they are doing anything and everything to pursue the almighty dollar even when it is at the expense of those who are nearest and dearest to them. The pressures and stress are so great that people are returning to their homes and releasing everything on their own families because that is a safe place to do and be whatever they want without the ramifications that would occur were they to behave in that way outside of the home.
The work place has become an even harder place in which to exist these days. With the stress of the work alone in greater quantity having to be done by a smaller work force, it is no wonder that people are having a hard time. Many bosses are under pressure to increase the bottom line and are doing so by passing along their work to those who work for them because they know that they can get away with it at this time when it is so hard to find a new job elsewhere. These same bosses are threatening the work force either directly or in the undercurrent of their messages that if you don’t do what you are told to do in the timeframe given, there are plenty of people standing in line to take your place. Those at the top are increasingly taking credit for the work of others in order to advance their own careers and are receiving promotions because of the efforts of everyone else. And those getting hired and promoted these days are increasingly the family and friends and the favorites of those who are in the positions of power.
I think that each of us needs to stop and take a look at the way we are dealing with our own situations and how we are treating those around us. In all situations, it is our personal responsibility to appreciate the freedoms and independence that we have and to honor our forefathers as well as ourselves by treating everyone fairly. We can accomplish whatever we need to do or want to do by working together, sharing the work equally, appreciating what others can bring to the table and being grateful and appreciative to others for their help and effort. A little love always goes a long way and it is what everyone deserves. After all, you only need to look around you to see what a lack of love has produced in many homes and business to know the difference.
A Privilege, A Responsibility
Our independence is a gift to us from our ancestors. Unlike other gifts, the price they paid for it was eternal. People such as José Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, Emilio Aguinaldo gave their all in a white flame of sacrifice on the altar of their nation. They lived, suffered and died for their noble cause, knowing they might never see the next sunrise. Still, they fought on.
Andres Bonifacio said: “In the fury of your struggle, some of you might die in the midst of battle, but this is an honor that will be a legacy to our race and our progeny.” Together with Jose Rizal and countless others, their words of inspiration fill our minds and hearts like blood clots of revelation from the wounds of humanity. They, like many others, answered the call of our native land—the call of freedom.
We should look back on the glories of the past with profound pride, remembering the sacrifices as we till the fields that have soaked up blood from countless battles, as we idly cruise through cities that stood witnesses to the marks of history and as we look upon the faces of our fellowmen, knowing that it is for them they fought. Lives were lost all throughout the dark moments of history and yet these moments are the ones that have further strengthened our patriotic love for our motherland.
Our independence is tempered by a responsibility. This responsibility calls for all of us to work hand in hand to make sure that the efforts of the heroes behind our liberation will not have been in vain.
Because of our freedom, we are now of a mind to make our own personality as Filipinos. We shoulder the responsibility of creating our own history to add to the golden pages of time.
Some say that the age of heroism is past. But if we observe closely, we will notice that at one time or another, someone, somewhere is bringing new meaning to the name Filipino. We will all stand firm, fighting for God and country. After all, for what greater or nobler cause is there than to fight than the ashes of our fathers and the temples of our gods? An age without a name is equal to one hour of sweet liberty.
The Philippines is no longer an obscure blot on the map. We have passed the test of time as the Centennial Celebration has doubtless proven. The Philippines is enjoying a century of independence, but we must also move out of the past and into the hands of the new generation.
Our country is a work in progress. As citizens of this country, we must do all we can to help. The people are the nation and it is up to us to keep the torch of freedom burning.
(This an inspirational essay for teenagers in the Philippines, my country)