It's summertime. The outdoor sign along St. Vincent St. in Barrie inviting people to join their Karaoke Session every Sunday afternoon at the Royal Canadian Legion brought us there with my husband to sing with seniors.
Since my father Bernardino A. dela Cruz served during the Second World war in the Philippines, I was accepted through the invitation of the past president Mr. Jim Strang to become a member of the Legion. One of the members, Ms. Mary-Florence Bartley, a singer, songwriter and composer wholeheartedly permitted her music album " A Tribute to the Fallen and their Families" to be use as an accompaniment.
The mellow voice of Ms. Deborah Bowen with the full generous technical support of Mr. Paul Mather in the production of this video " Freedom to a World War II Filipino Veteran" the celebration of my father's life.
Freedom! What does it mean to you? Capturing deep emotions while watching the last precious moments of my father on earth, my eyes focused on his physical body right infront of me, the revelation of the distant past, this personal experience happened. At the spark of the moment Freedom hit into my mind as I visualized his image transformed, magnified and immortalized into the the vast realm of freedom.
Freedom he left for you and me. Freedom that we must carry on. It was freedom that he fought for, counting his valuable contribution as a veteran opened his heart to the world.
The memory of World War I expressed by Sir John McCrae in his poem "In Flanders Fields" commemorated its 100th years in 2015, continue to rtefresh the sacrifices of the fallen for our sake to be free. We must feel the freedom restored after the past world wars, to keep and continue following that path. Moving my focus to the Philippine Flag covering his body, represents the commemoration, marking the day of the year nations all over the world celebrates Independence Day. Each nation's annual tradition. If you walk down the street of New York City, many independent ( self-government) nations are waving their flags where the United Nations headquarters is located.
I missed his funeral but my father left a Christian song "Sino Ako" (Who Am I) as his expression of love to his family , country and the world, played by the military band sang twice by the church choir at his memorial service. The following lines of the song, the intense meaning of love in English translation. "Who can be loving, who can be lovable, if not a man of Godly love" and the last line, "If I can never love at all, then who am I?" As if there was a hard blow that shook my head, the shocking truth. leading me to believe that I was there to choose the song for him having taught this song to my class way back in the Philippines as a Model Lesson Plan in Music subject published by the Modern Teach, a teacher's magazine circulated nationwide.
Now, I firmly believe that a dying individual would come to say farewell to their loved ones before leaving this world. The expression of Love transcends human understanding extending beyond his existence. Pouring out the Power of God;s Love that whatever, wherever, whenever and whoever humans come face to face Love must be their ultimate connection to each other.
My father was one of those who received full military honors bestowed upon the death of veterans and soldiers to recognize rheir sacrifices risking their lives to restore freedom and independence. After the war they continue to safeguard and protect the peace and security of a nation.
At this third generation of my father's family, his great grandson J. Valdez is enlisted with the Canadian Arm Forces.
Let us enjoy the freedom and independence my father left and his loving heart.