White Hurricane, War, and Political Will

 

The Great Blizzard of 1888 affected metropolitan New York from March 10th to March 14th. The resulting transportation crisis led to the creation of the New York subway and furthered the art of weather prediction into a science. According to the weather bureau at the time, NY expected slight rain was expected and not the White Hurricane that blanketed the city.

 

The snowstorm paralyzed the city but what ifÖ

 

Theodore Roosevelt did not lose the election for the Mayor of New York the year before; certainly his leadership experience might have changed the eventual annexation of the Philippines more than 10 years later. My memory visits 1888 when Rizal came to New York. Had he came just two months earlier I would have lent him my down jacket had he forgotten his overcoat (if you donít remember, come see his monument in Jersey City or in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.)That was the last time when a sitting president was elected President of the US with out the majority of the popular vote (before George W. Bush, of course.)Just of one of the similarities of 1888 and 2003.

 

Where was the great Mark Twain during the blizzard? He was in New York, angry because his lucrative speaking engagement was cancelled. He could not speak against the war in the Philippines, as the troops had not yet landed in Manila. Mark Twain had become a favorite commencement speaker, often criticizing the American role in the Philippines. You could see college graduates turning their backs at him during the ceremonies. Theodore Roosevelt became the only president who won both a Medal of Honor and a Nobel Peace Prize.He refused to attend college graduations where he would have to shake hands with Mark Twain.

 

Yesterday, students organized their opposition to the war in Iraq. What I am sure, their cause might be closer to the truth than most critics of war.It is not because of Oilbelow ground and it was never was. It is the high ground and I donít always believe in crusade, political or otherwise.†† For a change, the students were worried that military cost would be siphoned from educational funding. They are right, even if I donít agree that money is the only cause of the failure of the educational system in this country.

 

The return of the Draft is being recycled amongst students but there is nothing to fear. I have never seen our military volunteers in much higher morale until now and they are capable. Maybe I am partial and very proud when Captain Jose Corpus was acting commander battle group going on deployment to the Persian Gulf. As the Acting Carrier Group 5 (Kitty Hawk) commander, Captain Jose Corpus was now responsible for 10 ships and nine air wing squadrons, comprising the largest battle group in the Navy and the only permanently forward-deployed battle group. I donít even think that President Roosevelt, the father of the US navy ever thought when he sent the great white fleet to the Pacific. The North Korean just recently tested the vacuum created by the re-deployment of Captain Corpus Group from Japan to Iraq by provoking plane conducting recon flight between Korea and Japan.Another battle group (USS Carl Vinson) is underway within the striking distance of Korea to take his place in todayís mobile Navy .

 

Nestor Palugod Enriquez, nestor@filipinohome.com

 

(note: Captain Jose Corpus (born in Kamuning, QC ) is now back to his regular job as the Chief of Staff of the Kitty Hawk Battle Group stationed in the Persian Gulf)

 

 

Nelson Garcia fwd this articleÖ

 

Filipinos in US military:
'Please pray for us'
Posted: 1:37 AM (Manila Time) | Feb. 11, 2003
By Tonette Orejas and Joey A. Gabieta
Inquirer News Service
 
Shedding tears
 
"MAMA, please pray for us. We're being sent to war." 
 
Isabel Miclat remembered what her children, Jose and
Johanna, said in separate telephone conversations with
her two Saturdays ago from Egypt, just outside the
border of Iraq. 
 
Their last phone calls were, to Miclat, more
disturbing. "They're now in Iraq," she said, shedding
tears at the thought. 
 
Filipino-Americans in the US military are going to
play a "very, very significant role" in the Iraq
crisis because of the top positions they held or
because of their big number, Armed Forces chief of
staff Dionisio Santiago said. 
 
Lieutenant General Edward Soriano, a native of Alcala
town in Pampanga province, received his third star and
took over the command of Fort Lewis, becoming the
highest-ranking Filipino-American in the US Army.
Brigadier General Antonio Taguba, who was born in the
Sampaloc district ofManila, is the commanding general
of the US Army's Community and Family Support Center
based in Virginia. 
 
The two children of Miclat, 79, of Minalin town in
Pampanga, are serving in a US Navy unit that began to
move in last week to the theater of conflict. Now
master sergeants, they have been in the service for 17
years. 
 
"Because they chose to join the US Navy, I knew that
someday they would be in hostile situations," she
said. "But while I have prepared myself to accept
that, that's always the case for those in the
military, my mind could never be in peace because I
always fear for their safety." 
 
The eldest son of Lina Suarez, 60, a public school
teacher in Tacloban City, is also a US Navy man,
assigned at the MSS Missouri. 
 
"I will just pray hard for the safety of my son"
Suarez said, referring to Jose Maria, 34, who is
preparing for a possible encounter with Iraqi forces
for the second time. Jose Mari was deployed in the
Middle East during the 1991 Gulf War, she said. 
 
"He told me during our conversations that they have
been training for months now in preparation for the
war," Suarez, a teacher at the Rizal Elementary School
in Tacloban, said in a telephone interview two weeks
ago. "I even told him that I might die ahead of him." 
 
Since Feb. 1, when her two children called from Egypt,
Miclat said she had spent much of her time crying,
praying and monitoring the statements of Bush on Iraqi
President Saddam Hussein and on the United Nations
inspection of Iraq's alleged weapons of mass
destruction. 
 
"I've often been crying. They're going to be in a
difficult situation," she said, after recalling what
Jose and Johanna -- the youngest in her brood of three
boys and five girls -- asked her to do. 
 
"I hate Saddam Hussein," Suarez said emphatically, but
she is still hoping that war will take place, but for
the safety of her son. 
 
Jose Mari has been with the US Navy since 1988, a year
after he graduated from college with a degree in
banking and finance at the now defunct Divine Word
University, Suarez said. 
 
His father Angel said Jose Mari applied with the US
Navy after reading a recruitment notice advertised in
the newspapers by the US military, then holding base
in the US naval base in Subic, west of Manila. 
 
Jose Mari is married to Danette Lopez, a Filipino
nurse from Bacolod City whom he met in the United
States. They have a 3-year-old son, Matthew. The
family lives in California. 
 
"As a mother, I am really worried. But what can I do?
It's a call of duty," Suarez said. 
 
During the 1991 Gulf War, Jose Mari suffered hearing
impairment, she said. She did not know how her son had
his hearing problem. She advised him to take a leave
of absence, but "he did not obey me," she said. 
 
The last time that they saw each other was in 1999
when her son came home for a vacation. 
 
Suarez said all they could do now was pray because she
knew that they could not stop her son from doing his
duty. 
 
"He is brave. It's part of his job," she said. 
You miss this play related to the year 1901
 
********************
76 American Soldiers
112 Filipino Revolutionaries
50,000 Innocent Victims
3 Ancient Church Bells
1 Hell of a Controversy
***********************
 
MA-YI THEATER COMPANY
 
NEW WORKS DEVELOPMENT WORKSHOP
 
presents
 
"PROJECT:BALANGIGA"
By Raph B. Pena & Sung Rno
 
Blue Heron Arts Center
123 East 24th St. [btwn, Park & Lexington]
New York, NY 10010
 
Five Performances Only!
August 22nd, 23rd, & 24th @ 8:00pm
August 24th & 25th @ 3:00pm
 
Additional Outreach By:
 
-Philippine Forum
 
and
 
-Lakas Diwa:Filipino Youth Alliance of New Jersey
 
Admission: $5.00
 
RESERVATIONS:
 
(212) 581-8896
 
or
 
e-mail maypagasa3@hotmail.com
 
This production is made possible, in part, by support from The National
Endowment for the Arts, The New York State Council on the Arts, The 
Andrew
W. Mellon Foundation, & The Jerome Foundation...
 
**********
DESCRIPTION:
In 1901, a small town in the Southern Philippines called Balangiga 
became
the stage for one of the bloodiest battles of the Philippine American 
War.
Thousands of lives were lost.This was America's first Vietnam.
Today,
history continues to dog both countries, as each lays claim to 
ownership of
three ancient bells taken from Balangiga's church tower.The Unites 
States
has all three.The Philippines wants one back.Who is the rightful 
owner?
Who was the more aggrieved?