1. a procession, esp. a ceremonial one: a funeral cortege.
A friend graciously gave me this dramatic (albeit low res) photo of the Cory Aquino funeral honor guards being showered with yellow confetti, amidst the grand backdrop of the Manila Cathedral where the former President lay in state for a few days.
Now, we all know about how these honor guards have come home to a heroes’ welcome from their grateful countrymen. They have been interviewed by the media and even gracing TV shows to talk about that once-in-a-lifetime experience, even though they never fail to stress that it was all “part of (their) work.”
Today, six of those honor guards who stood still all throughout a long procession that carried Tita Cory’s remains received their military merit medals and plaques of appreciation from the Armed Forces of the Philippines. We were certainly glad to be there for this precious photo opportunity and getting to know their thoughts during that historic moment.
For the record, the AFP honor guards were: Private First Class Antonio Cadiente, Airman Second Class Gener Laguindam and PO3 Edgardo Rodriguez – they endured almost nine hours of hardship in the rain just to escort the former President’s remains to her final resting place in the Manila Memorial Park last August 5;
Pfc. Rico T. Seno, SN1 Arturo C. Roadilla Jr. and A1C Sherwin J. Del Rosario who escorted the coffin from La Salle Greenhills to Manila Cathedral last August 3.
Snippets of our interview:
Pfc. Cadiente : “Nararamdaman ko talaga ang matinding uhaw that time. Pero yung dami ng tao na sumusunod sa amin ang nagbigay sa akin ng tibay at naging matatag ako.” (I felt extreme thirst during that time, but seeing the large throng of people gave me strength, and I became strong).
A2C Laguindam : “I volunteered to be a guard and it was an honor na makasama ako. The most important thing was my mental attitude. I told myself not to give up, and to think of the whole thing as a sacrifice. When we reached Makati, I felt na masakit na talaga tuhod ko (“my knees were hurting”) but when it rained , I regained my strength. It must also have been a miracle that we never felt the call of Mother Nature all that time.”
PO3 Rodriguez: “When we were approaching Paranaque, utak ko na lang ang nagpapagana sa akin. Pinaglabanan ko talaga ang uhaw. Kaya when it rained, pa-simple lang, I drank the rainwater. May mga tao rin na pilit pinapatawa kami, dinededma ko na lang.” (As we were approaching Paranaque, I felt that it was only my mind that was functioning. I fought extreme thirst, and when it rained, I drank some of the rainwater. There were people in the crowd who tries to make us laugh, but I didn’t mind them.”
” Hindi ko malimutan ang experience na tumayo ng nine hours. Nang dahil dun, bumalik uli ang tiwala ng mga tao sa AFP. Kahit sinong commander-in-chief po, paglilingkuran namin. Trabaho ng AFP yan. Hindi lang kaming anim kundi kahit sinong miyembro ng AFP kayang gawin yan ng taos sa puso.”
(I will not forget my experience of standing still for nine hours. Because of what we did, the people’s faith in the AFP was restored. We would gladly serve any commander in chief. It’s the work of the AFP. It’s not only the six of us but any member of the Armed Forces who will do what we did, wholeheartedly.)
I join the nation in congratulating you guys for a job well done!
(Many thanks to Lt. Col. Romeo Brawner Jr., public affairs chief of the AFP, for making our short interview and photo op possible.) 🙂