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Valuing heroism

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Avatar for zolabundance2
Written by   123
1 month ago

Today is a holiday. Republic Act No. 9492, signed into law in 2007 set August 30 of every year as National Heroes Day. This used to be commemorated on November 30, alongside Bonifacio Day, in honor of Andres Bonifacio's birthday.

But Bonifacio, who symbolically ripped the cedula (community tax certificate) as a sign of protest against the Spaniards and started the revolution, was too big of a hero already and deserved a day to himself.

National Heroes Day was for the unknown heroes who also died or were persecuted as the nation fought to emancipate itself from the clutches of its oppressors. It is not in honor of one specific personality, but that of every individual who showed courage in the fight for the freedom we enjoy today.

However, I doubt people actually know the significance of this day. To most, it's a holiday so there's no work, no classes, and maybe less traffic. Unfortunately for those who are daily wage earners, it also means no pay. For the ones required to report to work today, they do get extra pay.

History books haven't really done justice to make students fully appreciate the sacrifice of these people dubbed as heroes. Neither have most teachers taken an in depth approach to presenting history so it is more vivid in the minds of kids rather than just asking them to memorize dates, places or people's names for tests.

Come to think of it, I may have enjoyed relating historical events or actions taken by those who fought for independence to our life as we were growing up. But that's water under the bridge.

Fast forward to 2021...

Mention hero today and what comes to mind are health workers who have sacrificed, toiled, and risked their lives during this pandemic that's running to 18 months.

There are also frontliners, whose jobs are not medical related, but have been called upon to serve the public at a time when mobility is restricted and most services are only operating at half capacity. The delivery riders, the staff at groceries and pharmacies, law enforcers, security guards, and allied workers in medical facilities.

We may not be at war using cannons, guns and bullets, but we are also fighting a battle that has claimed thousands of lives, often in solitude without even seeing the enemy.

And every doctor, nurse, medical technologist and technician, and hospital aide who brave each day exposing themselves to a virus that seems to always be two steps ahead of the world, rightly deserve to be called heroes.

Then what? Honoring heroes should go beyond just recognizing the work they've done and continue to do. What they need is validation through specific action, and the most profound way to honor these men and women is give what is due them, commensurate to their sacrifice, now, not six or eight months from now.

That means the special risk allowance, equivalent to hazard pay, and benefits covering food, transportation, and even insurance which was promised by government through a law enacted at the start of the pandemic.

It is nurses in private medical facilities that are struggling the most because of already low salaries, and many have chosen to give up because of meager pay compounded by exhaustion in the last year-and-a-half.

While being called a modern-day hero may sound exulting, without corresponding action to demonstrate they are truly valued - such as upping their salaries beyond minimum wage and releasing their benefits in a timely manner - being a hero is meaningless.

For the public who can contribute little to the economic plight of nurses, the most practical way to help is to keep safe and avoid being infected with the virus so hospitals will not be further overwhelmed more than they already are.

One is usually hailed a hero for performing extraordinary deeds under ordinary circumstances. This is a day for remembering heroes, those who gave their life for the nation to be free.

But in today's context, there are thousands of people doing heroic acts but feel they are grossly undervalued. Let us remember them, perhaps through prayer, that they finally get what they deserve so they can truly embrace their being heroes.

Images from Unsplash

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Written by   123
1 month ago
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Comments

Leaving behind the libertarian heroes, nowadays we only see TV heroes in capes and costumes. But out there there are too many heroes who offer their lives for the passion to their job, to what they do, to what they love. There are more heroes in real life than in all those fake heroes we see in the movies.

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1 month ago

We own our freedom to our heroes and also in this pandemic we have our living heroes as well our frontliners.. Salute to them and to us who follows protocols..

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1 month ago

Yes we do! And other than saluting them for the work they do, we can pray for their safety and fairness for them.

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1 month ago

Thats right lets pray for them. At wag na din magpasaway para di nadumami mga cases

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1 month ago

Ang galing mo talagang magsulat. 👍

Thanks for commending our modern day heroes.

All we can do to help them is to stay safe and not be affected by the virus. I hope our kababayans will not be hardheaded. Just today alone, there are 22,366 new cases - saw this thru @mommyjaytee's post in noise.

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1 month ago

Thank you for the kind words. Yes, unless Pinoys stop being pasaway, we cannot lick this problem, which becomes scarier by the day.

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1 month ago

Thanks sis, scary news and alarming 😷

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1 month ago