FFE Magazine

Why August 21 is Important

August 21 goes down in history as the day when Ninoy Aquino, returning from his exile in America in 1983, died in the tarmac of the Manila International Airport. Some Filipinos claim it to be the day Philippine patriotism was born, which later sparked into the People Power Revolution. This year, thirty years after the event, what does August 21 mean to the Filipinos?

Commemorating Ninoy Aquino Day

                August 21 in the Philippines is Ninoy Aquino Day, a national non-working holiday. The holiday was signed into law by former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on February 25, 2004. Known as Republic Act No. 9256, Ninoy Aquino Day commemorates the death anniversary of Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino junior. The law also states that ceremonies are to be carried out by the EDSA commission to observe the day.

                Who is Ninoy Aquino?

                Ninoy was a lot of things. Through the years, he has been known as courageous journalist, lawyer, mediator, youngest politician and later, staunch critic of the Marcos, and hero of democracy. Today, he is also known as the man in the 500-peso bill, husband to the late president Corazon Aquino, father to showbiz star Kris Aquino and to the current President of the Philippines, Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III.

                But history lessons on the days of the Martial Law aren’t complete without mention of him. When images of the ideal democracy are conjured, a lot of people still aspire to Ninoy’s pursuit of freedom against tyranny. Ninoy is often remembered whenever Filipinos need a hero and a role model. His famous line is shared and pondered now and then when patriotism is called into question: “the Filipino is worth dying for.”

                There are many reasons why the Filipino is worth dying for, and August 21 can be used to answer this question. With stories from family, friends, media and those who have witnessed the People Power Revolution, the Filipinos of today have a chance to relive that glorious moment in history. August 21 is the day when Filipinos united for freedom and justice, thanks to the courage of one man: Ninoy Aquino.



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