“Take one day at a time.”
“Nagsundalo kayo hindi para maging madali ang buhay.”
“Kahit gaano kayo katalino, kung wala ang ‘HONOR’ sa inyo, walang kwenta ‘yan.”
These were the words I would always hear when I was still a cadet of Philippine Military Academy. For each day of our lives, we lived with these words like they were our foundation in coping up with everyday transitions from being a civilian to a cadet.
I first heard this thru Cadet Firstclass Kent Fagyan. He was then the 3rd Company Commander and Echo Company Commander. He told us that being a cadet was just a role playing, that time would come and we would be the ones in their shoes and that we must first learn how to follow.
I remember when I was a fourthclass cadet, I almost got out of the Academy because of demerits. He was the one who pushed us hard, together with my buddies and roommates, to do better and gain merits. I was able to surpass my plebehood because of his efforts and guidance to become better.
When he graduated from the Academy, he was sent to Mindanao being a part of the Philippine Army. After a year, he also joined the Philippines Scout Ranger. I must say that his battle was not easy after hearing the sieges of Mindanao. He was one of the silent heroes of our country, fighting for its freedom and peace that have always been a right which we all enjoy and sometimes take for granted.
Just recently, he became one of the soldiers fighting in the siege of Marawi. He became wounded but still he is thankful because he still lives. He said that he does not want to die for our country. He wants to live to fight. The now First Lieutenant Kent Fagyan became one of the voices of the soldiers in Marawi and the soldiers deployed to the different wars of our country. He went to the Joint Session of Congress stating the experiences of his platoon deployed (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0txLbWXH8aA). He stated that in behalf of the soldiers fighting in Marawi, he is still thankful for the help, the food and clothing that were provided for them. They were the front-liners who were catching grenades and bombs for us to sleep safe and sound at night, but they are still thankful for everything they receive. Yes, it is their duties but they do not find pleasure from it at all. It was hard. It is not the ‘hard’ we all know. It is far more than that.
According to Game of Thrones, The Song of Ice and Fire, “The night is dark and full of terrors.”For them, days and nights were full of terrors, even their sleeps and naps, if needed be. Our freedom is not free. It is paid with the lives, tears, sweat and blood of the soldiers, in its literal sense, fighting for it. They shorten their lives to prolong ours. Their courage was not the absence of fear, but triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid but he who conquers it. He is afraid, yes. They all are. But they fear more thinking about their families and friends living in a country without freedom and in war.
He is just not my mentor. He is not just my hero. He is everyone’s. All of them are. It is always easy for us to disagree and give our opinions but it will never be hard to give support for these brave men and women when that is the least we can do while they are in the forefront, risking their lives, facing the daily horrors of this ongoing war.
To 1Lt Fagyan, Sir, stay a living hero. A “Thank you” will never be enough as your works must be sung. Every lesson you impart on me and to all of your underclassmen and even your upperclassmen, your troops, will never be forgotten. I know one day, nothing will go to waste and the “…Ang mamatay ng dahil sa’yo” will be rephrased to “…Ang mabuhay ng dahil sa’yo.”