Wednesday, August 05, 2009
The day the country stood still
It's 3:20pm on my watch and my kids and I just got home after standing in the rain two blocks away from our house at the corner of Osmena and Vito Cruz Streets to pay our respects for President Cory Aquino.
We left the house when it was shown on television that the funeral cortege was about to cross San Andres, which is probably 500 kms away from Vito Cruz. It took more than 30 minutes for the procession to reach Vito Cruz. It was raining hard when we got to the corner but miraculously, the rain stopped when the truck bearing President Cory's remains passed by.
We were able to get a glimpse of the casket aboard the truck because the throng of people who were there ahead of us folded their umbrellas. It didn't feel like a funeral procession - more like a celebration of life as people chanted, howled, applauded, cheered.
And then it was over. When the truck carrying the casket and the red van used by the immediate family had passed, people started to disperse. It was heartwarming to note that practically all houses in our neighborhood had "representatives" who went to the corner to pay their last respects to the former president. There was a mini procession along the streets of San Andres composed of people walking back to their respective houses. Most of us were wearing yellow. Among us was a neighbor who I know to be a rabid Marcos loyalist.
One of the things that media has been harping about was the visit of the Marcos siblings at the wake, the presence of too many politicians who allegedly are working the crowd at the funeral procession, etc. There are people who choose to see only partisan politics in the whole thing. I know that there are people who choose to spew bitterness and vitriol at this time when the whole country has come together to honor a former President.
Instead of letting hatred, vindictiveness and other negative feelings get the better of us, I think we should as a nation bask in this rare moment of unity.