By Brig. Gen. Restituto Aguilar (ret.)
National Historical Commission of the Philippines
The Second World War produced thousands of heroes but very few of them were known.
Unlike in the Philippine Revolution and Fil-Am War where the concentration of large-scale fighting was in the 8 provinces around Manila, with some in various provinces, resistance to Japanese invasion and occupation was from Batanes to Tawi-Tawi.
After the war, there were over 400,000 guerrillas who were recognized. Add to these the over 100,000 who died fighting for our country. This was a big percentage to our population which was 18 million at the outbreak of war.
Every veteran who fought for our county’s freedom are heroes that we must treasure. We are the beneficiaries of their sacrifices for fighting for the freedom we enjoy today. Their investment was their blood, sweat and tears.
We meet them in their advance age and even ignore their presence despite their great contribution they remained anonymous to all of us.
They might our parents, uncles and aunts, grandparents and relatives who remain humble about their war exploits, their contribution to our country’s freedom.
It is time for us to rediscover the unsung and unknown heroes in our family and we will be surprised to know that we have the blood of heroes in our veins. It is our duty in this generation to honor our heroes.
Restituto L. Aguilar currently serves as the Executive Director of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP). Prior to this, he was the Chief of the Veterans Memorial and Historical Division, Philippine Veterans Affairs Office for six (6) years.
Director Aguilar is a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class 1978 (Makatarungan) and has retired with the rank of Brigadier General in the Armed Forces of the Philippines after 33 years of military service.
Aside from his command and staff postings during his military service, he has been sought as consultant in the research of the history of the various military camps and museums in the country.
He also contributed to the establishment of the Armed Forces of the Philippine Museum in Camp Aguinaldo.
Director Aguilar also published various articles about the history of different AFP units in various academic publications and was the Editor-In-Chief of The Cavalier, the official publication of the Philippine Military Academy Alumni Association, Inc. (PMAAAI) from 2002-2012.
He also authored the Philippine Military Academy Register, a product of over seventeen (17) years of diligent research about the individual military histories of over 17,000 men and women who have entered the Philippine Military Academy.