- Posted June 3, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Your World War II memorabilia
MY FATHER'S MEMENTO OF WAR
- rachel8, CNN iReport producer
My father was a WWII Veteran under the Philippine Commonwealth Army. He was only 17 years old when he received a letter from the Chief of Police in his town ordering him to report for duty at a military unit in the town of Carmen, Bohol.
The letter dated November 30, 1941, proved my father's heroic participation of the second world war at such a very young age. He always looked back with fondness how he and his Comrades fought during the war.
In one of his stories, he recalled about a funny incident when he and his Comrades were walking a trail under some coconut grooves. They heard a big bang they thought was a bomb. Their Gunner, leaped into a deep meadow below them. It turned out, it was just a bunch of coconuts falling from the tree. They thought, they were bombed by the Japanese.
He said, he became a young Corporal assigned as a military escort to a high ranking officer in their unit. He was offered the rank of a Lieutenant but he refused because he will be transferred to Manila if he will take the promotion. My mother was pregnant of their first child and my father does not want to leave her.
My father married my mother during the war. My father would smile remembering how they borrowed the clothes they wore during their wedding. The ceremony took place in the middle of the night under the cover of darkness in a small chapel in our barrio. When it was over, he reported back to his unit and continued defending his country.
My father was also a member of the USAFFE (United States Armed Forces of the Far East). When Philippines fall to the Japanese, my father and his other Comrades went underground and became Guerrillas in their hometown. He never served under the Japanese government during the war.
Their underground Guerrilla movement was organized by the young charismatic politician from our town, who later became the fourth president of the Republic of the Philippines- the late Philippine President Carlos P. Garcia, who was my mother's cousin by Consanguinity. My father would bragged about their heroism and their fearless stand against the Japanese occupation. He laughed remembering their code which is "LING-LING". They choose this code because Japanese cannot pronounced the letter "L" which will let them recognized an imminent threat. For example, if they will challenged someone approaching them and it's a Japanese, it will say, "RING-RING."
There was one story during his life as a Guerilla that made him reflect what really went wrong at that moment when they were ordered to execute a fellow Comrade because they found out that he became a Japanese Informer. The execution by firing squad will be done at dawn on that particular day. So before dawn, all of them who were assigned the task gathered secretly and agreed among themselves not to really shoot him but when the time came, somebody really took the shot. Until my father's death, he really didn't know who among them betrayed their secret agreement.
When the war was over, my father was honorably discharged from duty. He kept all his war records and documents with him. He went back to school and became a head- teacher in a school co- founded by his elder brother for 25 years. When he retired from teaching, he became our town's Councilor.
During his term as a Councilor, he authored a lot of municipal by- laws benefiting the people of our town. One of them specifically, was the creation of an organization for Senior Citizens of our town of Talibon. He also acquired a spot in our town's plaza and built a Marker to honor our town's war Veterans. He also successfully lobbied for a private cemetery for war Veterans.
When he finished his term as Councilor, he devoted his time to war Veterans by becoming a District Commander of the Philippine Veterans in the province of Bohol for ten consecutive years undefeated in all elections. He didn't finished his last term because he suffered a stroke. My younger brother who was his driver narrated to me how he and my father drove to our province' capital for 2 long hours to procure ammunitions to be used for 21 gun salute for every Veteran that passed away. He wanted to honor each and everyone of them during their funerals.
When I learned that my father's health was fast deteriorating, I travelled from Canada to be on his side. It was in this moment that he whispered in my ears and entrusted to me all his war documents/mementos which I treasured to keep his legacy alive.
This letter which proved his bravery and courage during the war is one of the many mementos he left behind. He died at age 88 in 2011.