David Atwood contacted me the other day. He recommended I not brag about my military service. He said, “Others have done more and they do not brag.” He is absolutely right. I let the actions and inane mumblings of a couple of critics fill me with unjust self-righteous indignation. I lost my perspective. I lost my cool.
Five year old Maria Del Rosario watched as the Japanese hacked her beloved grandmother to death. Her father was gut shot and barely survived. After his recovery her father, a skilled surgeon, repaired bicycles for the Japanese during the day; at night he and his family supported the Philippine resistance. When their service to the resistance was discovered they barely escaped execution and ended the war in San Tomas prison. They did not get a parade. They did not get any medals. They were not paid. They fought evil because that is what you do. They fought for their country because that is what you must do.
Marcelo Yap and his brother were too young to carry a rifle but that did not keep them from fighting the invaders. They gathered intelligence and carried vital communications for the Philippine Resistance. When Marcelo’s brother was captured the Japanese left his headless body on a Cebu cliff to rot. Marcelo had to sneak out and recover his brother’s body to give him a proper burial. He never stopped fighting and after the war testified at the war crimes trial of his enemy. He got no parade. He got no medals. He was not paid for his service or sacrifice. He fought evil because that is what you do. He fought for his country because that is what you must do.
These are only two of the thousands of such war stories here in the Philippines . Their heroism makes me embarrassed about my brief encounter with the dogs of war. I was hired to do a job. I did that job and was paid. I am no hero, but that old pedicab driver, that little old lady in the park or that sari-sari store owner, are probably silent unheralded heroes. Do me a favor. The next time you pass by Foundation High School stop at the little sari-sari store and give Mr. Yap an amin. He earned your respect. He is my Everyday Hero.