The City of Carson, California celebrated Rizal Day to honor Dr. Jose P. Rizal during its 4th anniversary of the induction of the larger-than-life statue of the Filipino hero in the Carson Community Center on Thursday, December 29.
The celebration coincides with the 120th anniversary of Rizal’s fateful execution on December 30, 1896.
The morning started off with the singing of both the United States and Philippine national anthems followed by a wreath laying by Philippine Consul General of Los Angeles Adelio Angelito Cruz, LA police officers, Councilmember Elito M. Santarina, City of Carson officials, the Dr. Jose P. Rizal Monument Movement (JPRMM) and Kalayaan Incorporated.
Representatives from Filipino-American organizations and the City of Carson took to the podium to speak about Rizal and the importance of preserving his legacy for future generations.
“For us to epitomize our hero, we must not simply just remember how or why he was killed, but rather how he lived and how he left a profound impact on his countrymen then and to this day, the present generation Filipinos,” Consul General Cruz told the diverse crowd, reminding Filipinos to never forget Rizal’s sacrifice that brought freedom to the Philippines.
The celebration honored the large Rizal statue which sits in the meadow in front of the Carson Community Center.
JPRMM — led by engineer Manchito Mandap — came up with the idea of the monument to honor the Filipino hero and martyr. Filipino artist Toym de Leon Imao sculpted the 7-foot bronze statue and on September 29, 2012, the city unveiled it along with an inscription describing his legacy.
“Filipinos from Carson and neighboring cities will be forever grateful this statue serves as a reminder for Dr. Jose Rizal’s perseverance, patriotism, optimism, underlying love for his country and belief in his countrymen,” Filipino-American Chairman for the City of Carson’s Parks and Recreation Commission Alex Cainglet told the crowd during the program.
“Dr. Jose Rizal has reserved his place a symbol of what we can do in our lifetime. His whole life was a monument to education and is considered one of the most highly educated heroes in Philippine history,” Cainglet added.
In addition to the statue, with the help of Santarina, a resolution was passed by the City Council in 2013, which declared that December 30 of each year be declared Dr. Jose P. Rizal Day in Carson.
“This is important to the Filipino community so that we can strongly echo the message of Dr. Jose Rizal to young people, especially because we believe that the youth is the hope for the motherland,” Santarina told the Asian Journal before the commemoration.
Santarina added that having the monument and the resolution aligns with bringing public awareness and education of Rizal and his achievements.
“Dr. Rizal, himself, was able to influence the great minds and heroes of the world in terms of human rights, justice, fairness, loving one’s self and loving your fellow man. That is a great, great legacy,” Santarina added. (Klarize Medenilla/AJPress)