VII. EPILOGUE: “LET NOT HIS BLOODY DEATH BE ALL IN VAIN…”
“LET NOT HIS BLOODY DEATH BE ALL IN VAIN…”
(Delivered by Ermin F. Garcia, Jr. in RESPONSE to the tribute given to ERMIN GARCIA during the NPC-Sponsored Necrological Services held in Dagupan City on May 23, 1966).
Dear Friends of Ermin Garcia:
In behalf of my mother and my sisters I would like to thank you all for this sincere manifestation of your esteem and affection for my departed father. Everything that you have said and written everything that you have done and felt is your tribute to a man whom you consider great. You call him great. And he is great.
We are proud of him. And yet we cannot help but miss him. For he loved us—tremendously. It is very hard to describe love. But it is very easy to be aware of it. My mother Paulita, my sisters Josie, Charisse and Frieda—we were always aware of Papa’s great love for us. He gave us the best, the very best, that a man can give his wife and children.
Ermin Garcia—he who all his life had valiantly fought for the truth, and by his example has taught you and me to stand up for our rights—he can fight and teach no more. Ermin Garcia——he who had just begun to recover from the tragic drowning and death of his favorite child Karina—he too has become a victim of tragedy and death. There he lies now in that coffin, he who only four days ago was so full of life, of vigor, of courage, integrity, and dedication.
And yet, my friends, he did not have to die. He could have chosen to sit back in easy leisure, just watching life go on, caring nothing for the needs of those less fortunate than himself, mindful only of his own petty, selfish interests. But no, Ermin Garcia would never consent to such a selfish, superficial life. He would rather die a thousand times than live a life of shallow mediocrity. That was his deliberate choice in life. That was his deliberate choice in death. And you who were close to him realize that he died just as he had lived—a man full of commitment, a real man of total dedication.
And now he is dead. Murdered. Treacherously, violently murdered. Ladies and gentlemen—you who are friends of Ermin Garcia—what is the meaning of my father’s death? Did that fatal gun do nothing but merely end another life? Is that all that it means?
What would Ermin Garcia wish me to say to each one of you tonight? What is his dying message, a message which is loud and clear and strong, underlined and punctuated by the dripping red of his own life-blood? Ermin Garcia is still and silent now. But in his silence he speaks to you and to me:
“Life is short. Do not waste it in selfish mediocrity. Look around and compassionate with your fellowmen who are helplessly deceived and abused by the avarice and the greed of those who are selfish.”
I have fought the good fight. I have won the race,—but the battle is not over. Each one of you must carry on the fight, or else my cruel death is all in vain.”
“Three bullets from men of evil ended my life. Let three ideals for men of honor now allow my spirit, my cause, and my crusade to live on in the heart and the life of those who call me their friend.
“A life worthy of a real man is a life of intense love, of sterling trust, of divine faith.
“Intense love: not by word, but by the toil of your hand and the sweat of your brow. Intense love—for truth, for justice, for patriotism. Intense love—for the poor and the oppressed, and all your exploited, unchampioned fellow-Filipinos.
“Sterling trust—that once we do our very best, we have done our share in life. Sterling trust—that we are not alone; that although the forces of crime and evil are numerous and strong, more numerous and more strong are the forces of justice if only they wake up and work together and give their entire selves.
“Divine faith—that God is with us; divine faith—for as I lay bleeding and dying there with three bullet wounds in my body, my last words were the words of prayer. I believed in God and trusted in Him as I lay dying, just as I had done through all my life. For we are not, my friends, fighting our battles alone. We are fighting with God, and for God. Divine faith—belief, yes, that with the help of God we can do all things.
“Love. Trust. Faith.——three ideals for men of honor, men who would gladly live and gladly die for what they know befits them most, simply because they are men. “Let us be men, my friends. Real men.
“This is my last appeal to you. LET NOT MY BLOODY DEATH BE ALL IN VAIN. “LET NOT MY BLOODY DEATH BE ALL IN VAIN.”
I THANK YOU.
ERMIN F. GARCIA, JR.
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