Dr. Jose Rizal Mercado y Alonso, or simply Jose Rizal (1861-1896), is unquestionably the greatest hero & martyr of our nation. The day of his birth & the day of his execution are fittingly commemorated by all classes of our people throughout the length & breadth of this country & even by Filipinos & their friends abroad. His name is a byword in every Filipino home while his picture adorns the postage stamp & paper money of widest circulation. No other Filipino hero can surpass Rizal in the number of towns, barrios, & streets named after him; in the number of educational institutions, societies, & trade names that bear his name; in the number of persons, both Filipinos & foreigners, who were named "Rizal" or "Rizalina" because of their parents’ admiration for the Great Malayan; & in the number of laws, Executive Orders & Proclamations of the Chief Executive, & bulletins, memoranda, & circulars of both the bureaus of public & private schools. Who is the Filipino writer & thinker whose teachings & noble thoughts have been frequently invoked & quoted by authors & public speakers on almost all occasions? None but Rizal. And why is this so? Because as biographer Rafael Palma (1) said, "The doctrines of Rizal are not for one epoch but for all epochs. They are as valid today as they were yesterday. It cannot be said that because the political ideals of Rizal have been achieved, because of the change in the institutions, the wisdom of his counsels or the value of his doctrines have ceased to be opportune. They have not."
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