President Sergio Osmeña’s State of the Nation Address - Part 1

CEBUPEDIA - Clarence Paul Oaminal (The Freeman) - September 21, 2020 - 12:00am

This State of the Nation Address was delivered on June 9, 1945 when the country was about to rise from the damage of World War II. This speech should be integrated in our school curriculum so the youth will understand our war history.

“Gentlemen of the Congress:

“Today, a moment of great historic significance, the voice of our people, muted throughout the long dreary night of enemy enslavement, is to be heard again in the halls of this Congress, through their duly elected representatives.

“It has been a long lapse of time since that day in November, 1941, when you were elected, to this day when you gather in your first session. We can hardly recognize our country after the cataclysm that has engulfed it. The war has left its livid scars everywhere—on our buildings as well as on men’s souls. Probably nothing can more starkly summarize our present plight than the fact that the Executive and Legislative branches of our Government have to meet today in a borrowed house because our Legislative Building is a heap of rubble and ashes, mute witness to the savage desperation of the beaten enemy.

“The tragedy that has afflicted our nation has lacerated our hearts. We all miss today many dear and familiar faces that are no more. But perhaps no sorrow has touched us more deeply than the passing of our beloved leader, Manuel L. Quezon. I know, however, that you feel as I do that his immortal spirit abides with us in this hour of trial and crisis, encouraging us to proceed with the arduous tasks that lie ahead. This great man, who dedicated his entire life to his country, died as he would have wanted to die—in line of duty. Soon his mortal remains, kept at the Arlington National Cemetery at Virginia, will be brought back to the Philippines, and we shall all have the opportunity of rendering him our last homage of admiration and affection. We shall erect him a monument so that we and our generations yet unborn may keep his memory enshrined in our hearts.

“The Philippines is the one territory under the American flag which has suffered the most at the invader’s hands. Not only are its war casualties the highest in proportion to population, not only have its cities and towns been destroyed and looted, its countrysides and farms laid waste, and its whole economic structure ruined, but its people have undergone more physical pain and mental anguish than in any other part of the United States. As early as December 8, 1941, a few hours after her felon attack on Pearl Harbor, Japan sent bombers and task forces to the Philippines. Unavoidably turned into a battlefield, our country suffered heavily in men and property, especially in Bataan, where the Filipino-American Army battled the Japanese forces for four long months.” (To be continued)

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