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We laid yellow roses for you in our hearts, Cory.

The world in 2009 has forgotten. But we remember. At the core of our most cynical stance, we shield that dying ember, that promise of a flame, one that you lit during those seemingly mythical days of February, 1986. You gave us back a lost but essential courage. You called it out of our entrails. We were the worst of cowards then: cynics who traded words for action, who jumped like scalded cats mindful only of our status quo–to remain uninvolved. Should we even care, we who were oceans removed from the fray, away from the marching protests, secure in our stateside homes? Didn’t we stand tall, Americanized to perfection, with our heritage hidden and replaced by the façade of modern assimilated generic Asian American with no links to a particular homeland?

Cory Aquino, US Congress
Photo courtesy of the U.S. House of Representatives, Photography Office

You shamed us. We dumped on the homeland more than foreign indifference ever did. We wore blinders in ‘86 armed in feckless cynicism. You shamed us to be more than what we were. You chose a path that would bring mayhem into your life. We were apathetic, headed for oblivion. You could have held on to your pain and privacy then. Instead, you stored away your sorrow, faced the crowds and planted belief in what we could do together as a people. You nurtured our deep roots and harvested our hearts. We were armed with a new-found courage because your frailty undid us. You unmasked our brittle pride and gave us back our love of country.

We love you, Cory. We stopped saying so. We dropped the yellow ribbons, and traded them for slick confetti- colored lives. But you kept watch. Now you move away within the deepest sleep, away from all the furor of our days; days when pundits can only tab you as mere “housewife” refusing to see beyond the worn out phrase. They’re blind to the fact that it was you who arrived to pick up our fallen banner. How like one gentle maid on horseback leading an army centuries ago! You were the lady with a yellow flair who wooed and wedded an entire people, matching our own passionate love for an archipelago’s North, South, East and West. Within its length and breadth, we held the power in our hearts to march in song behind you.

Cory Aquino, US Congress
Photo courtesy of the U.S. House of Representatives, Photography Office

Here, now in this crowd-filled cathedral, silent even as it chants a dirge, your name is softly whispered. You deserve your rest, sweet lady. You have earned your leap across the threshold to eternity. We say goodbye not in a eulogy for the high and mighty. For you belong not to history or headlines but forever to us, your people.

Remé-Antonia Grefalda
August, 2009

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Remé-Antonia Grefalda

Aileen Ibardaloza

Geejay Arriola

Victoria Paz Cruz

Eileen Tabios

copyright 2009

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