Her Excellency Corazon C. Aquino
President of the Philippines
On the EDSA Flag Raising
[Delivered at Camp Aguinaldo, February 25, 1987]
THANK YOU, SOLDIER
The February Revolution has a special meaning for the military who, in the past regime, lost whatever honor they stood for as they were ordered to turn against the people they were supposed to protect. When the final test came, however, the soldiers disobeyed a dictator to stand true to their duty of defending a nation. It was largely because of this, because of the soldiers’ refusal to fire on their own countrymen, that the February Revolution was bloodless.
President Aquino assures the military of the nation’s gratitude and support as it tries to reform itself. As the people turned out to defend the soldiers’ lives, she now enjoins the military to defend the people’s freedom.
As we raise the flag of our country, I take special pride in saluting you, the defenders of our nation. The February Revolution has meant many things to many people. But it holds special promise for you, the military.
Some called the past regime a military dictatorship, yet it abused and shamed the military.
You, who were sons of the people, were asked to turn against the people.
You, the defenders of our national patrimony, had to stand by as it was plundered and wasted.
Many of you resisted, and for that we thank you.
And, in the moment of truth, when you were ordered to fire on the marchers for peace, for once in your life, you disobeyed. You disobeyed the dictator, in obedience to the higher call of freedom. And for that you will be rewarded.
You have already been rewarded with the gratitude of your people and your government. But deeper rewards are in store. You can now be assured that so long as you are responsible to the will of the people, the people will rally to support you – as they rallied around your brothers in Camp Aguinaldo.
You were, and remain, an essential part of the February Revolution. Let us all remember that its standards bore not the red of bloodshed, nor the black of hatred, but the yellow of hope and courage, the rising sun of the flag you are specially called to defend.
You, my countrymen, hold a special place in my heart. We mourn and honor every one of you who falls in the line of duty. Our people are watching with pride as you cleanse and fortify the institution of the military, and make it both a pillar to hold up our democracy and a sword to defeat its enemies. Our people turned out to defend your lives. It is your part now to defend their freedom.
Source: Presidential Museum and Library