Why are we celebrating Rizal Day on December 30 and not on his birthdate on June 19? We often thought of celebrating a person’s being on one’s birthday, Dr. Jose P. Rizal being our National Hero – we remember his death. Because on that day he died a hero.
Why he deserved to be our National Hero? Dr. Rizal displayed not only courage, strength, brainpower but also a noble heart of hero, indeed! The revolutionary saga by our brave forefathers like Andres Bonifacio and Emilio Aguinaldo and his men can be considered as the result of Dr. Rizal’s mind-opening expedition. The BOUNTY is of course our Liberty.
Courage is not just defined by bloodshed, despite the might of the Spaniards and their government, Dr. Rizal did not falter in exposing their anomalies as depicted in his famous novels ‘Noli Me Tangere’ and ‘El Filibusterismo’. Weakling as he is not, he might have chosen to change his course but no matter what it takes, how much it would cost him even jeopardizing his personal life he could not afford NOT to be heard. He continued what he had started even abroad.
The Spaniards find it hard to take that an Indio, as they fondly called our forefathers, can hurt their pride and ego that way - that a Filipino can shame them. And it is none other than Dr. Rizal who succeeded in doing that in PRINT on his novels. It reached many before they knew their callousness was made known, it is unthinkable to do it the way Dr. Rizal did expose them. The pain is sharper than a wound that a literal sword can inflict! They could not accept that insult and protest from someone whose race is they consider a slave.
The MIND of a HERO has a Heart
He would want to defeat the colonizers for sure but still he managed to let his MIND rule his heart. When caught by the Spaniards back here, he was exiled in Dapitan. Bonifacio’s brother was sent to help him escape and join the revolutionary arms BUT his heart decided not to imperil the lives of the many because he said that they are not yet ready knowing the weapons of the enemy. He would have convinced more followers to join their cause but he refused at the moment and chose to stay.
A Patriot Dies Not a Traitor
If we are to remember his last minutes in a firing squad at Bagumbayan (a.k.a.Luneta now Rizal Park), he literally died facing the foes when he was shot on his back he turned his back facing the executioners, we know not because he will stop them but for no other reason than letting them see he has nothing to be ashamed of and never wanting to give them the joy of seeing him die with any remorse for what he has done to be punished that day.
Dr. Rizal’s heroism and love of his country is written on his poems, exhibited in his life and witnessed on his death as well as his love of fellow countrymen whom he hated to see maltreated and slaved. His deeds are the mirror of his heart and mind. Undeniably, his heart beats for the Freedom of this land we called our Philippines.