Thank You, Soldier
Until the news about the massacre in Maguindanao province in Southern Philippines broke the other day, we were upbeat about this particular issue of WTW. Especially after the uplifting and inspiring news of the day before: Efren Penaflorida, Filipino, pushing his cart of books on the streets to the slums and into the hearts of his fellowmen and into world recognition and acclaims as CNN’s Hero of the Year.
Three months ago to this day, we featured as our center-“piece” subject a column of Cito Beltran (09-08-26 WTW/“Cito’s Plaint – Our Lament”) four days before the observance of the Philippine National Heroes Day. The title of Beltran’s article: They might as well have been ‘unknown soldiers.’
We were impressed, if somewhat embarrassed quite frankly, that this article that spoke and sang the praises of soldiers came from Beltran, a civilian. Then Cavalier Francisco “Mike/Banat” San Miguel ’51 who has given to this column more than his share of R & R – Reading and Reacting – wrote to remind us about a poem, an ode to the soldier, written by one of our own, a soldier himself, long before Beltran’s column on National Heroes Day.
We have since decided that on this day, the eve of Thanksgiving Day, and five days before the commemoration of the 146th birthday of a Filipino soldier and hero, Andres Bonifacio,  we would cede space, like we did three months ago to Beltran, to that poem.
The writer of the poem, Cavalier Danilo “DanMelJim” Jimenez ‘77 generously obliged our request for an English translation, months after he had written and posted the original in Filipino .
Ang Kawal na Bayani
The Soldier, the Hero
Sa likod ng anino araw ay wala
Dugo at sugat mo'y nakatago sa madla
sunog na balat, natuyong mga luha
labing nangangatal, walang ngiti o salita.
Behind the shadows where the sun never shines
your bloodied wound exposed to no one's eyes
skin burned by the sun, tears in pain dried
trembling lips in muted silence sans smiles.
Sa iyong kanlungan ay nahihimlay
kasamang nasawi sa isang digmaan
hindi ba't kanina lamang may pag-asa ang buhay?
naglaho ang bukas sa kahapong namaalam.
In your arms lie your fallen comrade
from a war without sense, just full of hatred
is it not just a while ago that life hope filled?
The future lost in yesterday that vanished.
Pumuputok pa ang baril, may galit pa sa puso
Kalabang Pilipino rin ay hindi susuko
Labang walang saysay, saan patutungo?
Lantang palay sa kaparangan, nilunod na ng dugo.
Guns still blazing as anger burns the heart
Filipino is the enemy who will never give up
battle of no reason with no end in sight
withered rice on the fields, drowned in blood.
“O aking anak, O aking ama
Sinisintang mutya, butihin kong Ina
Para sa inyo itong buhay kong aba
Patawarin ninyo ako sa aking mga sala.”
"My son, dear father please hear me out
you, too, my mother and love of my life
I have nothing to offer but a life not enough
Forgive me, my sins and the dreams I gave up."
Nasaan silang pasimuno ng lahat?
Mga kampon ng kapangyarihan at ng saligang batas
Paano ko naging kaaway kapatid kong nalantad?
Sa bayang nagisnan, pawa kaming gutom, pawa kaming hirap.'
Where are the instigators, the cause of all these?
Constitution's guardians, law's power wielders
How did my brothers end up as my enemies?
Hunger and poverty we share in our country of miseries.
Aanhin ang laya sa tahimik na libingan
Para saan ang medalya na saksi ng katapangan?
Mga balo at ulila, tigmak ng kalungkutan
Bukas makalawa, umpisa na naman ng patayan.
What good is freedom in the silent grave
what for is the medal that bravery merits
widows and orphans in sadness embrace
The day after tomorrow, the killing again begins.
Kawal na Pilipino, haligi ng bansa
Kubong umuugoy, tunay na mahina
Sa pagdating ng unos bahay ba'y magigiba?
Hindi kabayan, hanggang sundalo'y humihinga.
The Filipino soldier, the nation's pillar
house now shaking about to fall apart
With the storm's coming will the house collapse?
Never countrymen, to his last breath the soldier fights.
Walang hinihiling sa lipunang tinangkilik
Kahit na suklam at mura sa kanyang hirap ay kapalit
Huwag lamang lasunin isip ng mga paslit
Siya ay para sa bayan, Pilipinas na walang kapalit.
He asked for nothing from the country he served
To curses and hatred his ears went deaf
Do not poison the young was his only request
He is for the country, the only Philippines.
Tayo ay magpugay sa sundalong dakila
Walang tutol sa panganib, buhay ay itinataya
suweldo ay kapiranggot, isang kahig, isang tuka
patay kung patay para sa dangal ng bansa.
Let us pay tribute to the soldier, the hero
Refuses no danger, stakes his life en toto
Salary is a pittance, his livelihood zero
For the country's honor, to death he will never say no.
Ipaalam sa mundo ang kawal na bayani
Tapang na walang katulad sino mang katunggali
Ibandila ang hinaing, tunay na pagpupunyagi
Kapayapaan, Kalayaan, Kasaganaan ng buong lahi.
Go tell the world about the Filipino soldier
Regardless of the enemy, nobody's braver
Trumpet his aspirations, his constant struggles
Peace, Freedom, Prosperity for his people forever.
Humayo ka sa dagat, sa parang, sa bundok
Dasal nami'y sa iyo sa anumang pagsubok
Alalahaning buhay mo'y nakatala sa Diyos
Sa iyong pagbabalik, ligaya ay lubos.
Go forth to the sea, the jungles and the mountains
Our prayers are with you in any challenge
Remember your life in God's will depends
In your safe return, our happiness immense.
Salamat, Kawal, salamat sa iyo
Kamatayan na tinanggap tumubos sa mga tao
Tunay na pagluha ng mga pusong nagdurugo
Sana'y manatili pagbabagong totoo.
Thank you, dear soldier, our gratitude to you
Death that you accepted redeemed the Filipino
Bleeding hearts cry your people's true sorrow
May the nation's renewal last longer than tomorrow.
Wala na ang anino sa likod ng araw
Pusikit na ang dilim, tahimik na ang buwan
Alapaap sa langit unti-unting napaparam
Kawal na pumanaw, paalam… paalam.
Gone is the shadow at the back of the sun
Darkness is total, the silent moon is gone
Clouds on the horizon to the heavens return
Goodbye dear soldier, He has called you home.
Sa huling hantungan narinig ang kulog
Mga mahal mo sa buhay sa pighati'y napaluhod
Tanggapin n'yo po nawa, aming Amang Diyos
Kapus palad na kawal, naglingkod ng lubos.
At his lonely grave thunder was heard
On their knees, loved one's tears flowed unperturbed
God our Father receive thy son who served
The unfortunate soldier, questioning never.
Sa kinabusa'y sisikat araw ng pag-asa
Sa mga labi'y sisila'y ngiti na kay ganda
Sisibol sa bansa adhikaing dakila
Ng dahil sa Kawal, Kabayanihan niyang ipinunla!
In the morrow the sun of hope will shine
Once sad lips will bloom with pretty smiles
To the nation will sprout patriotism without rival
All because of the soldier, his heroism unbound!
Thank you, Dan Jimenez.
Yes, thank you, soldier.
Happy Thanksgiving Day to all.
 To our knowledge, this poem, like other literary works of Jimenez, has been posted only to the community of PMAyers on the Internet, i.e., the two existing mailgroups, the Academy Cavaliers’ Forum (ACF) and PlebesAndCavaliers (PnC).