A Google Photo < 1898 was a turning point in the lives of two peoples. America catapulted itself as the new colonial power besting Spain with its dwindling overseas interests. Beset with rebellion and petty insurrection in the Americas and on its only colony in the Far East, the Philippines became easy picking for the Americans.
For Filipinos, it was a critical time for them to remove themselves from the clutches of Spanish colonial rule, that enslaved most of the people except those who opted to take the Spanish side.
Both nations were on the same level of “freedom-thought” except that for America; bringing their brand of freedom to the islands meant annexing it as a new colony.
Emboldened by the weak resistance against the surprise attack of the Americans in the Battle of Manila Bay, Filipinos pulled back into Kawit, Cavite where Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo hoisted and waved the Philippine flag; declaring the independence of the Philippines.
On both sides there were hostilities, with Filipinos suffering the burnt of powerful American military weapons. Yet we continued to fight. For many Americans, it was their first encounter with an Asiatic foe and their exposure to the tropical heat and insects were also taking a heavy toll on them.
Each one believed they were fighting for freedom. We read and dream about freedom, we rejoice in celebration of freedom events: our June 12 and July 4th for Americans. We thought of the notions of freedom, to teach, to advocate, and to hope for something better that freedom affords a free society.
To many people, freedom could mean many things. Politically, freedom allows us to have the opportunity to vote for particular ideas, people, or parties which best represent our views. Closely tied to this notion of freedom is freedom of speech, where one has the liberty to voice their personal opinion or perspective on issues that touch our lives and influence our future.
People from different places around the world have come to America to experience this. We are one group that benefited from the freedom afforded by America when we ourselves became American citizens.
When our countries (the Philippines and the U.S.) collided in that fateful event, the “Battle of Manila Bay” it signaled a relationship between our countries that remained strong until today.
Let us not forget the sacrifices on both sides as we celebrate our 114th anniversary of our independence and as Americans acknowledge the sacrifices made by our adopted country into the preservation of democracy around the world.
Let us remember in solemn prayer and remembrance our men and women who fought gallantly to preserve our way of life even if it meant leaving their families and going overseas to conflict areas. We will always be grateful to them.
Wanting to remove themselves from the rule of their King, the new settlers who by then called themselves “Americans” renewed their hopes when in March 1775, at the third Virginia convention, held in St. John’s Church in Richmond, to discuss relations with Great Britain, Patrick Henry stood and cried: “Give me liberty or give me death.” in one of the most passionate speech for American freedom.
Benjamin Franklin summed up the true meaning of freedom and what is demanded to those who are willing to embrace it.
“Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.”