The Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) enjoins everyone to be one with the whole nation in observing the 79th Araw ng Kagitingan and the 2021 Philippine Veterans Week from 5 April to 11 April 2021.
The week-long observance, which will be live-streamed via the official PVAO Facebook page, is an annual commemoration that aims to preserve and memorialize the principles, ideals and deeds of our war veterans as a means to prcomote patriotism and love for country, especially among the youth.
With this year’s theme, “Kagitingan ay Gawing Gabay, Pandemya ay Mapagtatagumpayan,” the celebration also serves as a reminder that through sheer courage and determination, much like how our Filipino veterans defended our country in the war, we can overcome our ongoing battle against COVID-19.
The series of virtual commemorative events will kick-off with the Sunrise Wreath-Laying Ceremony on 5 April at 8:00 am. A Tribute to All Filipino Heroes will then be held on 7 April at 9:00 am to honor all Filipino heroes, patriots, martyrs, and defenders who fought and died for the country’s freedom.
On the actual day of the observance of Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor) on 9 April at 8:00 am, there will be a virtual gathering through Facebook Live at the Dambana ng Kagitingan or the Shrine of Valor. This tradition is held to look back and pay tribute to the heroism and sacrifices of the Filipino and American veterans of World War II.
Another wreath-laying ceremony will be held during the Paggunita sa Capas on 10 April at 9:00 am in remembrance of our freedom-fighters who experienced the horrendous Death March and became prisoners-of-war (POW). To officially close the week-long observance of the 2021 Philippine Veterans Week, the Sunset Ceremony will be held on 11 April at 5:00 pm. The virtual programs of the commemorative events will be streamed live in the PVAO Facebook page.
In addition, several promotional activities are being held in time for the celebration. The Philippine Veterans Affairs Office, together with the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, the Philippine Veterans Bank, Mt. Samat FTEZ, and top universities in the Philippines, launched the Kagitingan Historical Webinar Series on March and would last until May of this year.
Likewise, the Department of Education, in cooperation with the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, will conduct a virtual symposium on the significance and relevance of the 79th anniversary of Araw ng Kagitingan and Philippine Veterans Week on 8 April 2021 at 4:00 p.m.
The Department of Education is also holding national competitions in line with the Araw ng Kagitingan and the Philippine Veterans Week. This includes a National Creative Painting Competition for grades 4, 5, and 6 students enrolled in any public secondary schools nationwide that are duly recognized by the Department of Education, and a National Oratorical contest for grades 7, 8, 9, and 10. These competitions aim to promote the heroism of Filipino veterans and the lessons from their life stories during the war, and how they could inspire us during this time of crisis.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the implemented community quarantine may not allow us to physically gather together, but the observance of the 79th Araw ng Kagitingan and the 2021 Philippine Veterans Week continues. May this year’s national observance remind us of the valor of our veterans and may their stories of bravery inspire us and guide us in overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic.