What is a Hero?
Heroes are people who transform compassion into heroic action. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, he is someone who shows great courage. Someone who meets a need, reacts in the moment, or feels strongly about some injustice in the world. A hero for me is an ordinary person that did extraordinary things. Jose Rizal is a hero.
Born on June 19, 1861 at Calamba, Laguna, Jose Protacio Rizal Mercado y Alonzo Realonda is the seventh of eleven siblings. As a child, he displayed great ingenuity. At the age of 8, he wrote the poem, “Sa Aking Mga Kababata”, and at 16, he obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree with a grade of sobresaliente or outstanding from the Ateneo Municipal de Manila. After that, he studied medicine at the Unibersidad ng Santo Tomas but had to stop his studies due to discrimination of the Dominican tutors. He continued his studies at the Universidad Central de Madrid. He also attended the University of Paris and earned a second doctorate at the University of Heidelberg. While abroad, he wrote the novels Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo which served as a wakeup call to all the Filipinos during the Spanish regime. There he revealed the moral cancer that the Spaniards have infected the Filipinos’ daily lives due to almost 400 years of conquest. On December 26, 1986, Rizal was sentenced to die. He was convicted of rebellion, sedition, and of forming illegal association. On the eve of his execution while confined in Fort Santiago, Rizal wrote a poem called Mi Ultimo Adios and hid it inside a gas burner. He was executed on December 30, 1896 at the age of 35 by a firing squad at Bagumbayan, known today as Luneta Park in Manila. Despite the lack of any official declaration explicitly proclaiming him as national hero, he remains admired and revered for his role in Philippine history. Whatever the government decides, he will always have a special place in my mind and heart. Today,...
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