Letters of Youth


/ 12 July 2021


Soldiers serve their countries by continuing to fight for their nation, even if it cost them their lives, in order to have their countrymen safeguarded from several threats. Even so, if they are protecting us, who will protect them? I think they are the ones whom we should really be indebted to. 

The Sulu C-130 Air Disaster crashed the hearts of many on the 4th of July 2021. The Philippine Air Force (PAF) Lockheed C-130 Hercules plane, made a tragic crash after its failure to land at Jolo Airport in Sulu, Mindanao. The incident is the deadliest aviation disaster in the military history of the country, with more than half a hundred casualties. 

This disaster is so unnatural making hearts ache after ache, especially when unconscious and burnt bodies were carried out but the sight of civilians who have made themselves soldiers by risking their safety just to rescue the injured is in some way so uplifting knowing that the explosion may still not be over. 

As the bereaved families released their statements, I can’t help my tears from falling because no one can ever describe the desolating feeling of having parents bury their child before themselves. It is likely that the news of the death of their child, benumbed them. However, it isn’t simple to just make heroes out of death which has led to several attempts made by the mainstream media to cover facts through euphemisms. 

Of course, to those who haven’t lost anyone from that crash could easily say that “Those soldiers died for the nation and so, it is remarkable to witness that they have fulfilled their duty up until their last breath.” The media enters gathering interviews trying their best to not make the incident look so agonizing than it already is. My point here is that those parents who were to bury their child is a delicate issue. Therefore, we should try not to sugarcoat a grievous loss and proclaim the dead as heroes. I’m not saying that they are not, but there is a huge difference between being eager to deliver great news than knowing your manner on how to not be insensitive. 

To those who extend their condolences to the bereaved, please avoid saying, “’He is in a better place.’, ‘She is not hurting anymore.’, ‘Your daughter is smiling down on you.’, ‘I know how you feel.” STOP SAYING THESE because you are not sure that they are smiling or that they feel better in a place knowing that they have left their loved ones behind and that you know how they feel because YOU DO NOT. 

When a husband loses his wife, he becomes a widower. When a wife loses her husband, she becomes a widow. When a child loses his parents, he becomes an orphan. Now, let me ask you this. To the parents whose child dies, what do they do?

Their children lost the chance to journey longer in the paradise of life and it is tormenting that the ones who expect so much from them will no longer be able to wrap them around in their arms. Do not forget that before they became a soldier, they were sons and daughters who know so little of the country they now have served greatly. 

They are not just heroes. They are way beyond that because the soldiers victimized by the cruel tragedy in Sulu have shown more than courage but on how they sacrificed themselves for something greater than their lives, the country. 

Adding to that, I was moved when a 13-year old boy who was one of the injured civilians near the crash site brought to the hospital, said to the military officer, “I want to be a soldier” despite being harmed and witnessing the whole incident. With this, I realized that soldiers are not soldiers because of war but because of the determination to raise their country’s flag higher than sky…longer than their lives.

In such a dreadful dilemma, let us remember that there once were soldiers who devoted themselves to their country and their country alone.