Friday, August 24, 2007

My Country

by RmOlano

In the sprit of exchanging of opinions (palitan ng kuro-kuro), let us discuss issues and dismiss conjectures and what-ifs (haka-haka at palapalagay). I would suggest at this point that we can agree on a conclusion that we all have the right to say or criticize our government. That is freedom of speech as guaranteed by Constitution. That is fine and dandy and should be applied across the board regardless of age, social status, gender, etc.. We can all agree to disagree. We take responsibilities of our action and I do appreciate that our Brother from the Philippines did acknowledged our service to our adopted country — U.S.

Having said that, let me correct a misconception here, in my time, the US Navy did not "conscripted" Filipinos to serve. We voluntary joined the service of another country fully aware the consequences of that action i.e. losing Filipino citizenship and its entire legal ramification. The word conscripted is not an accurate description of 2,000 Filipinos per year who were screened from tens of thousands who applied. We went through a grilling process "on our own free will and accord." The US government did not forced, conscripted nor drafted Filipino citizen in its Armed Services. The lamentation of losing Filipino youth to USN can be characterized as naïve for that's what has been happening to Filipino Nation for sometime.

Again, I do thank our Brother for his acknowledgement and glad that he accepted the fact that those who chosen to raised their right hand to serve and protect the Constitution of their ADOPTED country have the moral responsibility to carry it through. The negative connotations, innuendos and speculation against the country I honorably served in uniform for twenty-one years is not something I will take lightly though. Despite of my heritage and culture of "old country," despite of my color and physical feature, despite of my language accent and grammar, the day I wear the uniform of U.S. and swear to defend it's Constitution against foreign and domestic--- I am no longer what I used to be. More than once, I and those who were neither citizen of both countries were labeled "mercenaries." For those who allowed themselves to be "conscripted" and did it for the money--- the label could be true but for those of us from poor families without padrinos and connections, saw the "conscription" as a chance, as an opportunity to make our lives better. Maybe some of the readers may call it, unpatriotic, they have their opinions and properties in the Philippines, but I have my American dream, a small house, a job, and college opportunities for my children. Between paying taxes, voting in local and national elections, jury duties and Naval Service, for all intent and practical purposes, I am an American and I do not appreciate anyone bashing MY country---the United States of America.

I am hopeful that the Brothers understand where I am coming from as it is not my intent "to hurt anyone person or feelings" but to meet anybody on the level. Allow me my Brother, to "extend my right hand in token of friendship and Brotherly Love..."


Photo credits:

Filipino sailors from Filipino-American Experience website. Fleet Week parade at San Diego by NBC. The short female NROTC cadet carrying the Navy flag is my daughter.

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