Fil-Am community marks Rizal Day with calls for unity and involvement

by Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN News

CARSON, CA — Since the Jose P. Rizal monument was first installed and unveiled in 2012 — the wreath ceremony has become an annual early morning December tradition for the Carson community, to honor a Philippine national hero. 

The Philippine Consulate joined community groups to commemorate the 120th death anniversary of Dr. Jose Rizal, reliving poetry as they lay wreaths at the foot the 16-foot tall monument. 

“I hope we continue to celebrate this every year, Rizal Day in Carson, and in due time the youth will be involved and continue the legacy,” said Chito Mandap, of the Jose P. Rizal Monument Movement.

“We’re here for Jose Rizal Day, because he said the youth is the future, and he’s a hero of the Philippines,” said youngsters Raelynn Bis and Angela Bis. 

For the community, honoring the national hero is a fitting way to cap off a year that saw many political changes, and should serve as a reminder for peace. 

“His love of country and people is his main purpose in life, to unite for unity,” said Tony Berango, author of Knights of Rizal. “That’s why our country is in turmoil. I do hope life of Rizal can be emulated by the Filipino people.

For the Los Angeles Philippine Consul General, Adel Cruz, the life of Rizal should serve as call to action to be involved in the Philippines. 

 “Reacquire your Philippine citizenship, and register to vote in the coming overseas absentee elections. You all here today can be a beacon of light, an instrument of hope, in choosing the right people to lead our country for our future,” said Cruz, speaking to the crowd at the wreath ceremony.

Mandap says 2017 will be a big year for the Jose P. Rizal Monument Movement.

The statue — believed to be the largest full body of Rizal in the US — will celebrate its 5th year since commemoration.  

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