Ninoy Aquino’s Heroism Remembered

by Antero Martinez

NEW YORK — After 30 years, the next generation of Filipinos continues to enjoy democracy and freedom all because of that fateful date: August 21, 1983.

The community remembered Benigno Aquino’s 30th death anniversary with a solemn offering of flowers and a flag raising at the Benigno Aquino Triangle in Hollis, Queens.

Aquino spent seven years and seven months in prison for being an enemy of the Marcos Dictatorship. He was killed with a bullet to the head as he was coming down from the plane ending his U.S. exile. His body sprawled on the airport tarmac galvanized Filipinos to action. Three years later, Ferdinand Marcos would be chased out of the country in an angry but peaceful people power revolution.

Consul General Mario de Leon, Jr. led the morning ceremony, which was attended by representatives from the Benigno Aquino Foundation, the Filipino-American Human Services Inc. (FAHSI), the Ateneo Alumni Northeast Inc., the Ilocano American Association and the Handang Tumulong Foundation.

It was a beautiful sunny day and the singing of the National Anthems was led by Virgie Bersamin. Fr. Jed Sumampong offered a special blessing.

After the ceremony, the people proceeded to the Filipino American Center for a mass celebrated by Fr. Jed and lunch hosted by the Seniors of FAHSI.

Commemorative messages were delivered by community folks sharing their recollection of the beloved Ninoy Aquino. This was followed by a program of ballroom and folk dancing, poetry reading and group singing.

Ninoy’s heroism is most inspiring up to now. It takes a lot of guts and courage to do what thing he did, which is to offer the ultimate sacrifice: his life.

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