Local officials, foreign dignitaries honor veterans
By Aurora J. Casimpan
Tacloban City (October 21) -- Local officials and foreign dignitaries converge today at the historic Palo beach to commemorate the 63rd Leyte Gulf Landings. Leyte Governor Jericho Carlos L. Petilla led the local officlas in welcoming local and foreign dignitaries who graced the celebrations.
This year's foreign dignitaries who joined the commemorative program were Major Paul Rosenzweig, Assistant Defense Attaché, Embassy of Australia; Martin Brisboes, Defense Attaché of the Canadian Embassy; His Excellency Makoto Katsura, Ambassador, Embassy of Japan and Lt. Col. Frederich A. Riker, Deputy Chief, Joint United States Military Assistance Group (JUSMAG), who represented the United States of America.
Undersecretary Ariston V. De los Reyes, AFP, a official of the Department of National Defense represented President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and delivered the commemorative address. Also gracing the affair was (Ret.) Col. Emmanuel V. De Ocampo, National President, Veterans Federation of the Philippines.
Leading the veterans and sons and daughters of veterans were its officials (Ret.) LT Gen. Ruperto A. Ambil, District Commander, Eastern Samar Chapter, Vice President, VFP Region 8 and Brig. Gen. Joel Joseph A. Cabides, MNSA, AFP, Regional President, VFP-SDAI Region 8 Chapter.
Local and National officials and the foreign dignitaries who delivered solidarity greetings paid tribute to the fallen heroes of the war as well as the living heroes who consistently grace the yearly occasion.
The speakers mostly centered their talks on the heroes of the war who they say will live forever to inspire the generations to come since their heroism during the war paved the way for the peaceful life enjoyed by the present generation.
Mayor Teodoro M. Sevilla: Our heroes sacrifice should be an inspiration to all of us to carry on their name and fulfill our patriotic responsibilities in times of peace as they did in time of war.
Ret. Col. Emmanuel V. De Ocampo: The veterans are an inspiration of courage and unselfishness in the fulfillment of the solmn obligations of our people.
Major Paul Rozenweig: Acknowledgement of courage and sacrifice in the liberation of the people of Leyte.
Martin Brisboes: Solidarity and partnership where we can ensure that the freedom men and women won by the country and which is celebrated can endure.
Makoto Katsura: Commemoration is the greatest tribute to those who have fought and fallen in the war.
Lt. Col. Frederick A. Riker: Remembering the past would teach peace.
Leyte Governor Jericho L. Petilla: Democracy knows no price and a nation rocked of its liberty knows no limits as to what we could be willing to sacrifice to gain back that freedom. That war may sometimes be indispensable in attaining long-term peace.
Usec. Ariston V. De los Reyes, DND: The Leyte Gulf Landings is the legend of the valor of men and women who braved the war side by side for freedom. It is a story of the solidarity and partnership between and among friends and allies.
Zeroing in on world events, the speakers spoke of the solidarity and partnership among nations as a key to success in meeting the challenges of the world. They said that no one nation can exist without the help of the other nations.
The liberation of Leyte ended the war but the continuing war on poverty, inadequate basic services and environmental degradation still needs liberation, according to Mayor Teddy Sevilla of Palo.
No one needs to be a hero in another war since nobody wins in a war but everybody can be heroes by living the life of a true citizen which is about reaching out to others in need not just in one's country but to other countries as well. (PIA-8) [top]