I suddenly find myself grieving with the nation with regard to the Philippine C-130H cargo plane crashing in Patikul, Sulu last July 4.
The utilitarian cargo plane missed its landing and killed more than 50 out of 92 passengers.
I’ve ridden an older version of those c-130s on one of my RnR breaks, as I’ve a soldier for 4 years of my life. It provides a smooth and steady ride, standing, and noisier than a commercial plane, but pretty cool.
I’ve witnessed and experienced first hand the hardwork, discipline, and rigorous training military men and women go through in order to do any task. Been there, done that, and I’ve been most exhausted and yet highly fulfilled in what I’m doing.
I’ve seen the operations and the systems in place, and sadly, I’ve lost some friends too. It was terrible, one minute we were hanging out, and the next, we receive a call from our senior officer that our friend was gone, sniped in the leg in an encounter, severing a major artery and didn’t survive. His troops worked hard to recover his body and bring him back to the boat as they retreated, at the risk of their own lives. His wife upon finding out, was understandably in grief and inconsolable, the son not even knowing what happened. We didn’t know them personally, we just saw their pictures and knew he loved and cherished them so, as any good husband and father would.
That was the reality in the Armed Forces.
Working in the Armed Forces would really mean giving your life, we knew that coming in, it was ingrained in us, and we recited the Military Professionalism everyday in training.
Men who adopt the profession of arms, submit their own free will to a law of perpetual constraints, of their own accord.
They resist their right to live where they choose, to say what they think, to dress as they like. It needs but an order to settle them from their families, and dislocate their normal lives.
In the world of commands, they must rise, march, run, endure bad weather, and go without sleep or food, be isolated in some distant post, work until they drop.
They have ceased to become masters of their own fate.
If they drop in their tracks, their ashes will be scattered in the four winds, that is all part and parcel of their job.
We knew it, even so, as it happens, it’s still a terrible, shocking tragedy. Two of my nurse friends, one a civilian and one an officer, each lost their loved one too in an encounter in the southern part of the Philippines.
It could be said that any loss of life is a tragedy. JD lost his father due to renal disease, and he says the “missing him” part doesn’t really go away. The memories remain.
Granted, the C-130H crash was a mishap, an accident that eventually cost them their lives. Then it’s easy to point fingers in blame and throw all sorts of accusations to whomever.
What can we do?
We could be humbly grateful that there are people stationed behind the scenes keeping the rest of the country safe and sovereign internally and externally.
We could pray for the comfort of the bereaved, that they will continue to live productive lives amidst their loss, and pray for continuous AFP modernization.
We could connect with our distant relatives or friends working as uniformed personnel all over the Philippines and give them encouragement and thanks for keeping up their work amidst hardship.
“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.”Colossians 3:23-24