Remembering Cory Aquino

Remembering Cory Aquino: An Inspiration to Volunteering
By Nathaniel George Hipolito (Volunteer Contributor)

Within the first three hours of August first, we all bade farewell to an icon of freedom, grace and strength. President Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino passed away, bearing the Filipino people's great admiration and respect. She was no doubt our national symbol of hope, restoring democracy and the Filipino's belief in their abilities to make this nation great once again.

It would be wrong to assume that President Aquino single-handedly rose to the presidency and for restoring democracy to this nation. Her humble persona wouldn't even claim all the credit to herself. She shares the victory of the EDSA revolution with the millions of Filipinos who firmly believed that the Filipino can rise, and a better future is waiting ahead.

As her life story would reveal, one could say that Cory Aquino's journey to the presidency was through the great spirit and dynamism of volunteering. And she was herself, a volunteer. Thrust from being the wife of the slain senator-hero Benigno Aquino into the political arena, she might have been initially hesitant of the enormous task ahead. But she nonetheless responded to a deeper call, a firmer belief made her take the plunge, offering a life of service, even until her battle with cancer.

President Cory Aquino's and Ninoy's lives have deeply inspired many people to go beyond themselves, to volunteer for something greater for the nation. I was still a grade schooler when the EDSA Revolution happened. But through photo and video documentaries of that historic event, I surmise that the years and weeks leading to the EDSA revolution in 1986 were filled with endless stories of volunteering, especially for the marginalized. Although always wary of soldiers of martial law, people were hungry for avenues to share skills, and serve. Volunteer organizations then were borne out of and were further rationalized because this deep desire to reach out to those in the countryside, especially among the youth.

As the clamor for peace and democracy grew louder, people from all walks of life sacrificed for a common goal, for a common purpose. With great determination to gain freedom back, people contributed their resources, gave time and presence to that historic event forever remembered as the EDSA Revolution.

The great outpour of support that happened in 1986 wouldn't have been possible if not for countless volunteers nationwide, working quietly and carefully, at times evading arrest – just so to restore freedom and hope. Truly, the spirit of volunteering was at work at EDSA and we found in Corazon Aquino, an inspiring beacon of hope.

Now that she has passed, her legacy of self-giving, of working through and with volunteers will always be remembered. Through Corazon Aquino's life of commitment, she has shown genuine leadership by example. Cory celebrated people power, and how this power- this giving of selves for others and for country can truly be the path towards freedom and change.

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