OPINION: ‘Why I have American blood in my veins’ By Jesus “Jess” Dureza
A FEW days ago, I got reminded, during a recent clan reunion in my late father Martin’s hometown JANIUAY in Iloilo, that I have American blood in my veins. I was one year old and born in another Iloilo town GUIMBAL when our family migrated down south to Davao where I grew up and have taken permanent residence since then up to now. I am a Dabawenyo but an Ilongo forever. Going back to the family “memory lane” and meeting seldom-seen relatives are always a source of unending joy. It’s reconnecting with the past that we never lived but only heard about, that’s valuable.
FAMILY STORY — Last Saturday, on our way to the venue of the Dureza clan reunion, we were passing through an old bridge being re-constructed, in entering the town when someone told us that the old, concrete turret or structure with openings for gun emplacements at the foot of the bridge was where our late father, Martin, Sr. almost died during the war years when he was still a teenager.
Hearing that, we all immediately jumped out of the vehicle! Ah so this is what our father always told us about when we would sit by his side and he would regale us with his exploits as a young boy.
Here’s his story. He was a teenager when Japanese occupation soldiers barged into their nipa hut, roused them up in the dead of the night and rounded up all males in the neighborhood. His father (our grandfather) was among those taken. Luckily our father Martin jumped out of the window and escaped.
The following day, at daybreak, word got around that the men taken the previous night were all beheaded by the Japs. At nightfall, his family recovered his father’s headless body using a carabao-drawn sled. The young Martin, with revenge in his heart did not return home and volunteered to join the local guerrillas and in no time, he earned the local reputation of being a Japanese hunter-killer.
He volunteered to be in the front lines during raids. One important mission for him one fateful day was to clear the bridge of the armed sentry guard to allow a guerrilla dawn entry into town by silently killing without firing a shot the Jap soldier manning the gun turret. He volunteered, climbed the wall and engaged the Jap sentry. It was mission accomplished. But before the Jap gave his last gasp, he was able to thrust his bayonet at Martin who fell to the ground below mortally wounded. He however survived after months of treatment at an American hospital where it was said that he was saved because of the transfusion of American blood. Were it not for the massive transfusion, he would have died. (All 8 of us Dureza siblings would not have been around today.) Truth to tell, up to this day, I never stopped believing I have American blood in our veins — but still wondering why we don’t have the American GI looks! (lol)
CONNECTED — Being “connected” nowadays is a given. The cyberspace age makes this a normal “must do” with all the devices like phones, computers, IPADs, tablets, etc. While many of us consider this advance technology as breakthroughs, there are downsides to consider.
CLONING — I remember what a young, school-aged scion grandson of tycoon Henry Sy, Sr. told me while we were on a private plane enroute to General Santos City sometime ago to visit the SM mall there. He was on summer break from schooling abroad and accompanied his father Hans, Sr. to an inspection trip. I was surprised at his thoughts when we started talking about how the world advanced.
He said that modern technology is both good and bad. The downside, according to him, has something to do with creating a clone of your private self and storing it in your phone or device. The privacy risk is allowing others to gain access to your innermost self or your complete persona given that there is yet no foolproof security shield discovered by modern science to completely guard against such access. That’s the reason why if one is separated from that phone or device, you either feel incomplete or insecure. You created your own clone for the outside world to see or pry into. This is one thing about being “connected” we should take into account.
“NETWORK” — In last Sunday’s homily, I heard a priest- celebrant at the Greenbelt Chapel in Makati an interesting thought that is worth sharing. He said that in today’s cyber-age, everyone is”connected” by phones, the computer, in the Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
He noted how we become so distressed or feel incomplete if we suddenly discover that our cell phone is lost or nowhere to be found. Or when the Internet or network is lost. When the “network signal” is lost or gone, we all become disconnected. Even the most expensive phone or most modern computer is less useful if it is not connected to a network. The priest intoned: If we all want to be always connected with one another and feel complete, let God be our “network”. God is the uninterruptible “Wi-Fi”. Good thoughts. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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