My due recognition for the World War II Veterans

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Written on 11:23 PM by DRV

Standing
Free-Verse by Danreb Reyes Victorio


Standing.
Envisioning myself in a world where my brothers are not,
While they lie on the ground motionless where leaders are commanding...
Commanding them to keep fighting as bullets hit them from behind.
Falling and falling down in Bataan and Manila Bay
With no fun during every hour of the day
With absolutely no sense or say
And definitely nowhere to stay.

Standing.
But at what cost?
They were in enough of a bind.
A bind so tight that they stood along with their brothers white,
Looking for no exit.
For once, they were one,
Fighting the good fight,
Knowing one day...
Maybe one day they would be looked at under the same light...
As our founding fathers who made our nation so true.
But I awaken.

Standing.
Finding out that we are in a world, a new
World that took away everything they owned.
They wouldn't even throw them a mother ****in bone.
Even our fears over the years,
The bloodshed and tears
Were planned on being forgotten.
But that wouldn't happen. Not on the watch of the young.
The same people, screaming from the top of a bad lung,
"THE PEOPLE, UNITED
WILL NEVER BE DEFEATED!"

Sixty years, we waited for change.
It took that long for the higher-ups to pay them back in a range
That didn't even equal minimum wage.

Sixty years, we waited for change.
The lolos kept dying, we waited so long.
We waited so long, time became more important than money.
Yes, money was scarce. No bank held a sack,
But we elected a new leader, whose skin was black.
Sixty years we waited for change.
And as our President said, it's finally here.

Standing.
Right before us lies a new stimulus bill.
Being ready to go through Capital Hill.
The time has finally come
To pay our loved ones one by one.
To find that our goal has finally been reached.
The confidence is back with no sense of breach.
All we want now is recognition.
But this is my premonition.

Standing.
The visions that appear on one and another.
One eye sees closure.
The other eye sees an opening.
One eye closed.
The other open.
Open to recognition.
Open to recognizing the ones who fought and died.
The ones who did not rot and did not hide.
The ones who stayed silent as their kids did the talking.
The same talking that the government didn't even find shocking.

Standing.
Here on the stage were my colleague spoke something he wrote
About his grandfather of whom he never spoke
With the people of our small community who finally cared to wonder...
And that ISANG BAKSAK unleashing our curious thunder.

---


While my piece was nothing great, the recent news about the World War II Philippine Veterans finally receiving their benefits (provided Obama signs the bill) that were taken away from them during Truman's term hit a soft spot for me. It's been a while since I've wrote any form of poetry. The last meaningful poem I wrote was for the girl I've always loved but let go and before that the last poem I wrote was in dedication to the accomplishments of the great Cesar Chavez--yes, even though it was Phillip vera Cruz who first approached him about a union.

It took sixty years for it to happen. It took the falling of our economy for it to happen. It took a black President for it to happen.

But at least it did happen.

All we need now is to recognized what they did. So please, to all of you reading this who have no idea who who you are. Embrace your surroundings. Remain proud of where you came from. Accept where you are.

When I first learned about how this whole ordeal happened, I was indifferent. But when it was finally time to talk to an actual, real-life veteran, it truly opened my eyes to see how patient and humble these elderly men were. There I was, in an impatient mood, wondering what cultural dance I'd learn next... while there was a pleasant old man in front of me wearing his Veteran's cap and the purple hearts he had tucked in front of his pocket. To think that the benefits he had were taken away. To think that he wasn't even going to be recognized for his accomplishments as a guerilla fighter under the U.S. flag. If I were in his shoes, I would be disgusted... but he wasn't.

Even if you're not Filipino, we've been given a chance to change the world. Look at the sense of community around you. Even with how strong it is, we have to make it stronger. That all begins with you. The people. The meat of the community. Stay in tune with what makes you you. Because if you know your history, you know yourself.

The worst part is forgetting.

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1 Comment

  1. Guinotorious |

    how'd u know purpple hearts were in his pocket?

     

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