DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/24 Nov) — Has it has been fifty years, Lord, since forty-eight Blue Knights knelt before You here at this very altar on the vigil night just before our graduation the next day? We promised you our Obedience and Loyalty; and vowed to fight for what is Good, and True, and Beautiful. Forever. We promised to be strong.
Fortes in Fide.
The next day we sallied forth into the world after our graduation:
Onward! ‘neath the cloudless sky
Let our banners flutter high!
With flashing steel and ringing shield,
Let us sweep our battlefield.
With visor high and sword in hand
Come, blue knight, take your stand
Be men of virtue tried and true
In your armor white and blue.
The world was our battlefield, Lord. And we were your loyal servants and warriors.
The Blue Knights.
But who would have known that the battle would last so long; and the war would take our entire lifetimes? We were young then, and unwise to the ways of the world. We didn’t sweep the battlefield, Lord. Very often, we were swept away. In the din and dust of daily life, in the confusion and conundrum of earning a living, in the urgency of survival, we sometimes, if not often, found ourselves, like the crusader knights of old: fighting for the enemy. Unwittingly. But sometimes, Lord, willfully.
It has not been easy, Lord, to see Life steadily and as a whole; but of course there were times when by Your grace, we remembered the promises we made to You at our vigil night. There were times, when as Blue Knights, we took our stand and held on as men of virtue, tried and true. But we wish there could have been more of such times. Because finding oneself is a bitter struggle and we soon found out that the enemy we sought and fought was nobody else but us.
In the course of our sojourn here in this valley of tears, many of the Knights who pledged their fealty and allegiance to You fifty years ago, Lord, have gone on to their rest and the reward you promised them. Take them to your bosom. They have done well. We remember the times, good and bad, we had with each other; because they helped form us into what we are today. We know that nothing can bring back the happy splendor of youth or the magnificence of innocence; but we grieve not, rather find strength in what is left behind.
We are old, Lord. The weight of 50 long years bears heavily on our shoulders, and Night silently weaves her veil of shade around us, in ever nearing circles. But in spite of our years, Lord, much remains to be done.
So we shall not tell our souls to be still because the arms we bore were brittle. We shall not creep quietly into our narrow boarded beds and let no more be said, because the world has conquered all our promises and aspirations. We shall not go gently into the night. We have continued to strive, to seek, and not to yield.
There is yet light enough for another charge, Lord. There is time enough to continue to rage against all injustice and exploitation in this world. There is breath left enough to defy time and try again to set the world on fire.
So this year, Lord, we, the remaining Blue Knights of addhs 62 will hold vigil again in your chapel. We will renew our vows. Just as we did 50 long years ago. We will gather again to your call.
Let the drums beat now,
Let every bugle blow,
Our standard’s flung aloft to the sky,
The standard that our heroes flaunted,
Never daunted in all the years gone by!
Our Standard. Tattered, yes! Bloodied, yes! Sullied, even so! But the Standard, flung against the sky in defiance, has remained ours, Lord. And we rally again around it. At your command. Old, aged, and decrepit. But even in the twilight of our years, we have remained steadfast in spite of all our vicissitudes. We have remained true.
Again, set face to the foe!
In all earth’s regions, charge his evil legions
And his haughty menaces thus defy!
It will be once more into the breach for us, dear comrades, once more! Let the Victor when He comes when the forts of folly finally fall, find our bodies by the wall!
We will e’er be true
To our glorious white and blue!
Through the flash and flame,
Will bear its peerless sacred name!
Through the darkest fray,
Where all the cowards fall away,
O María! Regina Coeli! Help us, guide us.
This is our last charge…
Let it be… good!
We were born of the sun… and in our short lives streak towards the sun and leave the air and the sky singed with your honor.
And in the sun, where its glorious past was won,
We will plant it again. Or die.
(Surgeon Jose M. Tiongco is the Chief Executive Officer of the Medical Mission Group Hospitals and Health Services Cooperative-Philippines, a nationwide health cooperative that started in Davao CIty. A member of Ateneo de Davao High School Class 1962, he proceeded to the Ateneo de Manila for college and finished medicine at the University of the Philippines’ College of Medicine, CLass 1971. Members of the Ateneo de Davao High School 1962 will gather on December 7 in Davao City to celebrate 50 years since graduation. The celebration will begin with a mass and a recollection officiated by retired Bukidnon Bishop Honesto Pacana, one of their advisers then. ADDHS 62’s Facebook page is Atenoe de Davao High School 62)