Sadness and tears come naturally to many Filipinos watching the grieving families of the gallant soldiers who died while fighting for the flag in Marawi City.
The grief that tugs at the heart is even more haunting because most if not all of those who perished were well-loved by their families and the communities where they came from.
Indeed, there are moments when one is tempted to ask why, to borrow the words of Billy Joel, “only the good die young”.
Someone once said in a fit of disgust that heaven seems over-eager to call home the finest people in every race because it is the positive contributions to society that leave early.
Indeed, it is a sad day when so many young men who are still in the prime of their years – or yet on their way to it – are sacrificed in the altar of national security.
Which leads us to wonder what manner of people exist in this nation of ours who remain unmoved by the early passing of these heroes in our midst.
Three petitions filed before the Supreme Court in effect rendered all these deaths – those of the soldiers, policemen, civilians and even rebels – useless.
In their petition, seven solons led by Albay Rep. Ecel Lagman said the declaration of Martial Law is “baseless”.
That is virtually saying all these deaths do not warrant the declaration.
If that is so, may we ask Lagman and company how many more deaths do we need to justify the declaration of Martial Law?
“The tragedy of life is in what dies inside a man while he lives,” said Norman Cousins.
Cousins, of course, have not met the bigger tragedies – those who have long died but continue to give a semblance of life, those who have long thrown out relevance and – in this case – sympathy for motives that are unprintable but is there for all to see.
These are the people who spit at the graves of the dead and the faces of the living without remorse and without shame.
Some men die young and yet their lives are well lived as shown by the grief that their deaths summon from their loved ones.
And then, there are those who have long died even while they breathe.