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Neil Armstrong was a quiet, self-described “nerdy” engineer who became a global hero when as a steely-nerved U.S. pilot he made “one giant leap for mankind” with the first step on the moon.

The modest man who entranced and awed people on Earth has died. He was 82.

Armstrong died Saturday following complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures, a statement from his family said. It didn’t say where he died.

Armstrong commanded the Apollo 11 spacecraft that landed on the moon July 20, 1969, capping the most daring of the 20th century’s scientific expeditions. His first words after setting foot on the surface are etched in history books and in the memories of those who heard them in a live broadcast.

“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” Armstrong said.

In those first few moments on the moon, during the climax of a heated space race with the then-Soviet Union, Armstrong stopped in what he called “a tender moment” and left a patch to commemorate NASA astronauts and Soviet cosmonauts who had died in action.

“It was special and memorable, but it was only instantaneous because there was work to do,” Armstrong told an Australian television interviewer this year.

Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin spent nearly three hours walking on the lunar surface, collecting samples, conducting experiments and taking photographs.

“The sights were simply magnificent, beyond any visual experience that I had ever been exposed to,” Armstrong once said.

The moonwalk marked America’s victory in the Cold War space race that began Oct. 4, 1957, with the launch of the Soviet Union’s Sputnik 1, a satellite that sent shock waves around the world.

An estimated 600 million people — a fifth of the world’s population — watched and listened to the moon landing, the largest audience for any single event in history.

Parents huddled with their children in front of the family television, mesmerized. Farmers abandoned their nightly milking duties, and motorists pulled off the highway and checked into motels just to watch on TV.

Although he had been a Navy fighter pilot, a test pilot for NASA’s forerunner and an astronaut, Armstrong never allowed himself to be caught up in the celebrity and glamour of the space program.

“I am, and ever will be, a white socks, pocket protector, nerdy engineer,” he said in February 2000 in one of his rare public appearances. “And I take a substantial amount of pride in the accomplishments of my profession.”

A man who kept away from cameras, Armstrong went public in 2010 with his concerns about President Barack Obama’s space policy that shifted attention away from a return to the moon and emphasized private companies developing spaceships. He testified before Congress, and in an email to The Associated Press he said he had “substantial reservations.”

NASA chief Charles Bolden recalled Armstrong’s grace and humility in a statement Saturday.

“As long as there are history books, Neil Armstrong will be included in them, remembered for taking humankind’s first small step on a world beyond our own,” Bolden said.

Armstrong’s modesty and self-effacing manner never faded.

When he appeared in Dayton, Ohio, in 2003 to help celebrate the 100th anniversary of powered flight, he bounded onto a stage before 10,000 people. But he spoke for only a few seconds, did not mention the moon and quickly ducked out of the spotlight.

He later joined former astronaut and Sen. John Glenn to lay wreaths on the graves of airplane inventors Wilbur and Orville Wright. Glenn introduced Armstrong and noted it was 34 years to the day that Armstrong had walked on the moon.

“Thank you, John. Thirty-four years?” Armstrong quipped, as if he hadn’t given it a thought.

At another joint appearance, the two embraced and Glenn commented: “To this day, he’s the one person on Earth, I’m truly, truly envious of.”

Armstrong’s moonwalk capped a series of accomplishments that included piloting the X-15 rocket plane and making the first space docking during the Gemini 8 mission, which included a successful emergency splashdown.

In the years afterward, Armstrong retreated to the quiet of the classroom and his Ohio farm. Aldrin said in his book “Men from Earth” that Armstrong was one of the quietest, most private men he had ever met.

In the Australian interview, Armstrong acknowledged that “now and then I miss the excitement about being in the cockpit of an airplane and doing new things.”

At the time of the flight’s 40th anniversary, Armstrong again was low-key, telling a gathering that the space race was “the ultimate peaceful competition: USA versus U.S.S.R. It did allow both sides to take the high road, with the objectives of science and learning and exploration.”

Glenn, who went through jungle training in Panama with Armstrong as part of the astronaut program, described him as “exceptionally brilliant” with technical matters but “rather retiring, doesn’t like to be thrust into the limelight much.”

Glenn told CNN on Saturday that Armstrong had had a number of close calls in his career, including during the moon landing, when they had less than a minute of fuel remaining on arrival.

“He was a good friend and he’ll be missed,” Glenn told the network.

Derek Elliott, curator of the Smithsonian Institution’s U.S. Air and Space Museum from 1982 to 1992, said the moonwalk probably marked the high point of space exploration.

“The fact that we were able to see it and be a part of it means that we are in our own way witnesses to history,” he said.

The 1969 landing met an audacious deadline that President John F. Kennedy had set in May 1961, shortly after Alan Shepard became the first American in space with a 15-minute suborbital flight. Soviet cosmonaut Yuri A. Gagarin had orbited the Earth and beaten the U.S. into space the previous month.

“I believe this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before the decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth,” Kennedy had said. “No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important to the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish.”

The end-of-decade goal was met with more than five months to spare. “Houston: Tranquility Base here,” Armstrong radioed after the spacecraft settled onto the moon. “The Eagle has landed.”

“Roger, Tranquility,” the Houston staffer radioed back. “We copy you on the ground. You’ve got a bunch of guys about to turn blue. We’re breathing again. Thanks a lot.”

The third astronaut on the mission, Michael Collins, circled the moon in the mother ship Columbia while Armstrong and Aldrin went to the moon’s surface.

Collins told NASA on Saturday that he will miss Armstrong terribly, spokesman Bob Jacobs tweeted.

In all, 12 American astronauts walked on the moon between 1969 and the last moon mission in 1972.

For Americans, reaching the moon provided uplift and respite from the Vietnam War. The landing occurred as organizers were preparing for Woodstock, the legendary rock festival on a farm in New York.

Armstrong was born Aug. 5, 1930, on a farm in Ohio. He took his first airplane ride at age 6 and developed a fascination with aviation that prompted him to build model airplanes and conduct experiments in a homemade wind tunnel. He was licensed to fly at 16, before he got his driver’s license.

Armstrong enrolled in Purdue University to study aeronautical engineering but was called to duty with the U.S. Navy in 1949 and flew 78 combat missions in Korea. After the war, Armstrong finished his degree and later earned a master’s degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Southern California. He became a test pilot with what evolved into the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, flying more than 200 kinds of aircraft from gliders to jets.

Armstrong was accepted into NASA’s second astronaut class in 1962 — the first, including Glenn, was chosen in 1959 — and commanded the Gemini 8 mission in 1966. After the first space docking, he brought the capsule back in an emergency landing in the Pacific Ocean when a wildly firing thruster kicked it out of orbit.

Armstrong was backup commander for the historic Apollo 8 mission at Christmastime in 1968. In that flight, Commander Frank Borman, and Jim Lovell and Bill Anders circled the moon 10 times, and paving the way for the lunar landing seven months later.

Aldrin said he and Armstrong were not prone to free exchanges of sentiment.

“But there was that moment on the moon, a brief moment, in which we sort of looked at each other and slapped each other on the shoulder … and said, `We made it. Good show,’ or something like that,” Aldrin said.

In Wapakoneta, media and souvenir frenzy was swirling around the home of Armstrong’s parents.

“You couldn’t see the house for the news media,” recalled John Zwez, former manager of the Neil Armstrong Air and Space Museum. “People were pulling grass out of their front yard.”

Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins were given ticker tape parades in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles and later made a 22-nation world tour. A homecoming in Wapakoneta drew 50,000 people to the city of 9,000.

In 1970, Armstrong was appointed deputy associate administrator for aeronautics at NASA but left the following year to teach aerospace engineering at the University of Cincinnati.

He remained there until 1979 and during that time bought a farm, where he raised cattle and corn. He stayed out of public view, accepting few requests for interviews or speeches.

“He didn’t give interviews, but he wasn’t a strange person or hard to talk to,” said Ron Huston, a colleague at the University of Cincinnati. “He just didn’t like being a novelty.”

In February 2000, when he agreed to announce the top 20 engineering achievements of the 20th century as voted by the National Academy of Engineering, Armstrong said there was one disappointment relating to his moonwalk.

“I can honestly say — and it’s a big surprise to me — that I have never had a dream about being on the moon,” he said.

Armstrong married Carol Knight in 1999. He had two adult sons from a previous marriage.

His family’s statement Saturday made a simple request for anyone who wanted to remember him:

“Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink.”

-Fox News
Neil Armstrong
Neil Alden Armstrong is an American former NASA astronaut, test pilot, aerospace engineer, university professor, United States Naval Aviator, and the first person to set foot upon the Moon
Died: August 25, 2012, Columbus
Born: August 5, 1930, Wapakoneta
Spouse: Carol Held Knight (m. 1994), Janet Shearon (m. 1956–1994)

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Benigno S. Aquino, Jr.
Senator of the Philippines
In office
December 30, 1967 – September 23, 1972[1]
Presidential Adviser on Defense Affairs
In office
1949–1954
Governor of Tarlac
In office
December 30, 1961 – December 30, 1967
Vice Governor of Tarlac
In office
December 30, 1959 – December 30, 1961
Mayor of Concepcion, Tarlac
In office
December 30, 1955 – December 30, 1959
Personal details
Born November 27, 1932
Concepcion, Tarlac, Philippines
Died August 21, 1983 (aged 50)
Manila International Airport, Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines
Resting place Manila Memorial Park, Parañaque, Metro Manila, Philippines
Nationality Filipino
Political party Liberal (1959–1983)
LABAN (1978–1983)
Other political
affiliations
Nacionalista Party (1955–1959)
Spouse(s) Corazon C. Aquino
Children Ma. Elena Aquino-Cruz
Aurora Corazon Aquino-Abellada
Benigno S. Aquino III
Victoria Elisa Aquino-Dee
Kristina Bernadette Aquino
Residence Times Street, Quezon City
Alma mater University of the Philippines
Ateneo de Manila University
San Beda College High School (Class of 1948)
St. Joseph’s College, Quezon City
Occupation Politician
Profession Journalist
Religion Roman Catholicism

 

Benigno Simeon “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr. (November 27, 1932 – August 21, 1983) was a Filipino Senator and a former Governor of Tarlac. Aquino, together with Gerry Roxas and Jovito Salonga, formed the leadership of the opposition to the Marcos regime in the years leading to the imposition of martial law in the Philippines. In 1973 he was arrested and incarcerated for 7 years, but was allowed to depart for the United States to seek medical treatment after he suffered a heart attack in 1980. He was assassinated at the Manila International Airport upon returning home from exile in the United States in 1983. His death catapulted his widow, Corazon Aquino, into the limelight, and prompted her to run for President as a member of the UNIDO party in the 1986 elections. Manila International Airport has been renamed Ninoy Aquino International Airport in his honor, and the anniversary of his death is a national holiday in the Philippines, Ninoy Aquino Day.

Early life and career

Benigno S. Aquino, Jr. was born in Concepcion, Tarlac, to a prosperous family of hacenderos (landlords), original owners of Hacienda Tinang, Hacienda Lawang and Hacienda Murcia.[6]

His grandfather, Servillano Aquino, was a general in the revolutionary army of Emilio Aguinaldo.[7]

His father, Benigno S. Aquino, Sr. (1894–1947) was the vice-president of the World War II Japanese collaborationist government of José P. Laurel. His father was one of two politicians representing Tarlac during his lifetime. The other was Jose Cojuangco, father of his future wife. His mother, Doña Aurora Aquino-Aquino, was also his father’s third cousin. His father died while Ninoy was in his teens prior to coming to trial on treason charges resulting from his collaboration with the Japanese during the occupation.[citation needed]

Aquino was educated in private schools—St. Joseph’s College, Ateneo de Manila, National University, and De La Salle College. He finished high school at San Beda College. Aquino took his tertiary education at the Ateneo de Manila to obtain a Bachelor of Arts degree, but he interrupted his studies.[8] According to one of his biographies, he considered himself to be an average student; his grade was not in the line of 90s nor did it fall into the 70s. At age 17, he was the youngest war correspondent to cover the Korean War for the newspaper The Manila Times of Joaquin “Chino” Roces. Because of his journalistic feats, he received the Philippine Legion of Honor award from President Elpidio Quirino at age 18. At 21, he became a close adviser to then defense secretary Ramon Magsaysay. Aquino took up law at the University of the Philippines, where he became a member of Upsilon Sigma Phi, the same fraternity as Ferdinand Marcos. He interrupted his studies again however to pursue a career in journalism. According to Maximo Soliven, Aquino “later ‘explained’ that he had decided to go to as many schools as possible, so that he could make as many new friends as possible.”[8] In early 1954, he was appointed by President Ramon Magsaysay, his wedding sponsor to his 1953 wedding at the Our Lady of Sorrows church in Pasay with Corazon Cojuangco, to act as personal emissary to Luis Taruc, leader of the Hukbalahap rebel group. After four months of negotiations, he was credited for Taruc’s unconditional surrender.[9]

He became mayor of Concepcion in 1955 at the age of 22.[10]

Political career

Aquino gained an early familiarity with Philippine politics, as he was born into one of the Philippines’ prominent oligarchic clans. His grandfather served under President Aguinaldo, while his father held office under Presidents Quezon and Jose P. Laurel. As a consequence, Aquino was able to be elected mayor when he was 22 years old. Five years later, he was elected the nation’s youngest vice-governor at 27, despite having no real executive experience. Two years later he became governor of Tarlac province in 1961 at age 29, then secretary-general of the Liberal Party in 1966. In 1967 he became the youngest elected senator in the country’s history at age 34.[citation needed]

In 1968, during his first year as senator, Aquino alleged that Marcos was on the road to establishing “a garrison state” by “ballooning the armed forces budget”, saddling the defense establishment with “overstaying generals” and “militarizing our civilian government offices”—all these caveats were uttered barely four years before martial law, as was typical of the accusatory style of political confrontation at the time. However, no evidence was ever produced for any of these statements.[citation needed]

Aquino became known as a constant critic of the Marcos regime, as his flamboyant rhetoric had made him a darling of the media. His most polemical speech, “A Pantheon for Imelda”, was delivered on February 10, 1969. He assailed the Cultural Center, the first project of First Lady Imelda Marcos as extravagant, and dubbed it “a monument to shame” and labelled its designer “a megalomaniac, with a penchant to captivate”. By the end of the day, the country’s broadsheets had blared that he labelled the President’s wife, his cousin Paz’s former ward, and a woman he had once courted, “the Philippines’ Eva Peron“. President Marcos is said to have been outraged and labelled Aquino “a congenital liar”. The First Lady’s friends angrily accused Aquino of being “ungallant”. These so-called “fiscalization” tactics of Aquino quickly became his trademark in the Senate.[citation needed]

Martial law, hunger strike

It was not until the Plaza Miranda bombing however—on August 21, 1971, 12 years to the day before Aquino’s own assassination—that the pattern of direct confrontation between Marcos and Aquino emerged. At 9:15 pm, at the kick-off rally of the Liberal Party, the candidates had formed a line on a makeshift platform and were raising their hands as the crowd applauded. The band played, a fireworks display drew all eyes, when suddenly there were two loud explosions that obviously were not part of the show. In an instant the stage became a scene of wild carnage. The police later discovered two fragmentation grenades that had been thrown at the stage by “unknown persons”. Eight people died, and 120 others were wounded, many critically. Aquino was absent at the incident.[citation needed]

Although suspicions pointed to the Nacionalistas (the political party of Marcos), Marcos allies sought to deflect this by insinuating that, perhaps, Aquino might have had a hand in the blast in a bid to eliminate his potential rivals within the party. Later, the Marcos government presented “evidence” of the bombings as well as an alleged threat of a communist insurgency, suggesting that the bombings were the handiwork of the growing New People’s Army. Marcos made this a pretext to suspend the right of habeas corpus, vowed that the killers would be apprehended within 48 hours, and arrested a score of known “Maoists” on general principle. Ironically, the police captured one of the bombers, who was identified as a sergeant of the firearms and explosive section of the Philippine Constabulary, a military arm of the government. According to Aquino, this man was later snatched from police custody by military personnel and never seen again.[citation needed]

President Marcos declared martial law on September 21, 1972 and he went on air to broadcast his declaration on midnight of September 23. Aquino was one of the first to be arrested and imprisoned on trumped-up charges of murder, illegal possession of firearms and subversion. He was tried before Military Commission No. 2 headed by Major-General Jose Syjuco. On April 4, 1975, Aquino announced that he was going on a hunger strike, a fast to the death to protest the injustices of his military trial. Ten days through his hunger strike, he instructed his lawyers to withdraw all motions he had submitted to the Supreme Court. As weeks went by, he subsisted solely on salt tablets, sodium bicarbonate, amino acids, and two glasses of water a day. Even as he grew weaker, suffering from chills and cramps, soldiers forcibly dragged him to the military tribunal’s session. His family and hundreds of friends and supporters heard Mass nightly at the Santuario de San Jose in Greenhills, San Juan, praying for his survival. Near the end, Aquino’s weight had dropped from 54 to 36 kilos. Aquino nonetheless was able to walk throughout his ordeal. On May 13, 1975, on the 40th day, his family and several priests and friends, begged him to end his fast, pointing out that even Christ fasted only for 40 days. He acquiesced, confident that he had made a symbolic gesture. But he remained in prison, and the trial continued, drawn out for several years. On November 25, 1977, the Commission found Aquino guilty of all charges and sentenced him to death by firing squad.[citation needed]

1978 elections, bypass surgery, exile

In 1978, from his prison cell, he was allowed to take part in the elections for Interim Batasang Pambansa (Parliament). Although his friends, former Senators Gerry Roxas and Jovito Salonga, preferred to boycott the elections, Aquino urged his supporters to organize and run 21 candidates in Metro Manila. Thus his political party, dubbed Lakas ng Bayan (“People’s Power”), was born. The party’s acronym was “LABAN” (in Tagalog). He was allowed one television interview on Face the Nation (hosted by Ronnie Nathanielsz) and proved to a startled and impressed populace that imprisonment had neither dulled his rapier-like tongue nor dampened his fighting spirit. Foreign correspondents and diplomats asked what would happen to the LABAN ticket. People agreed with him that his party would win overwhelmingly in an honest election. Not surprisingly, all his candidates lost due to widespread election fraud.[citation needed]

In mid-March 1980, Aquino suffered a heart attack, possibly the result of seven years in prison, mostly in a solitary cell. He was transported to the Philippine Heart Center, where he suffered a second heart attack. ECG and other tests showed that he had a blocked artery. Philippine surgeons were reluctant to do a coronary bypass, because it could involve them in a controversy. In additional, Aquino refused to submit himself to Philippine doctors, fearing possible Marcos “duplicity”; he preferred to go to the United States for the procedure or return to his cell at Fort Bonifacio and die. He also appeared in the 700 Club television ministry of Pat Robertson, where he narrated his spiritual life, accepted “Christ as his Lord and Savior” and became a born-again Christian, which sprang from a conversation with Charles Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship, who was involved in the Watergate Scandal during U.S. President Richard Nixon‘s administration.[citation needed]

On May 8, 1980, Imelda Marcos made an unannounced visit to Aquino at his hospital room. She asked him if he would like to leave that evening for the U.S., but not before agreeing on two conditions: 1) that if he left, he would return; 2) while in the U.S., he would not speak out against the Marcos regime. She then ordered General Fabian Ver and Mel Mathay to provide passports and plane tickets for the Aquino family. Aquino was placed in a closed van, rushed to his home on Times Street to pack, driven to the airport and put on a plane bound for the U.S. that same day, accompanied by his family.[citation needed]

Aquino was operated on at a hospital in Dallas, Texas. He made a quick recovery, was walking within two weeks and making plans to fly to Damascus, Syria to meet with Muslim leaders, which he did five weeks later. When he reiterated that he was returning to the Philippines, he received a surreptitious message from the Marcos government saying that he was now granted an extension of his “medical furlough”. Eventually, Aquino decided to renounce his two covenants with Malacañang “because of the dictates of higher national interest”. After all, Aquino added, “a pact with the devil is no pact at all”.[citation needed]

Aquino spent three years in self-exile, living with his family in Newton, a suburb of Boston, Massachusetts. On fellowship grants from Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he worked on the manuscripts of two books and gave a series of lectures in school halls, classrooms and auditoriums. He traveled extensively in the U.S., delivering speeches critical of the Marcos government.[citation needed]

Planning return

A moving screen shot of Sen. Aquino as he was being escorted out of the plane by military personnel, minutes before being killed.

Throughout his years of expatriation, Aquino was always aware that his life in the U.S. was temporary. He never stopped affirming his eventual return even as he enjoyed American hospitality and a peaceful life with his family on American soil. After spending 7 years and 7 months in prison, Aquino’s finances were in ruins. Making up for the lost time as the family’s breadwinner, he toured America; attending symposiums, lectures, and giving speeches in freedom rallies opposing the Marcos dictatorship. The most memorable was held at the Wilshire Ebell Theater in Los Angeles, California on February 15, 1981.[11]

In the first quarter of 1983, Aquino received news about the deteriorating political situation in his country and the rumored declining health of President Marcos (due to lupus). He believed that it was expedient for him to speak to Marcos and present to him his rationale for the country’s return to democracy, before extremists took over and made such a change impossible. Moreover, his years of absence made his allies worry that the Filipinos might have resigned themselves to Marcos’ strongman rule and that without his leadership the centrist opposition would die a natural death.[citation needed]

Aquino decided to go back to the Philippines, fully aware of the dangers that awaited him. Warned that he would either be imprisoned or killed, Aquino answered, “if it’s my fate to die by an assassin’s bullet, so be it. But I cannot be petrified by inaction, or fear of assassination, and therefore stay in the side…”[12] His family, however, learned from a Philippine Consular official that there were orders from Ministry of Foreign Affairs not to issue any passports for them. At that time, their visas had expired and their renewal had been denied. They therefore formulated a plan for Aquino to fly alone (to attract less attention), with the rest of the family to follow him after two weeks. Despite the government’s ban on issuing him a passport, Aquino acquired one with the help of Rashid Lucman, a former Mindanao legislator and founder of the Bangsamoro Liberation Front, a Moro separatist group against Marcos. It carried the alias Marcial Bonifacio (Marcial for martial law and Bonifacio for Fort Bonifacio, his erstwhile prison).[13] He eventually obtained a legitimate passport from a sympathizer working in a Philippine consulate through the help of Roque R. Ablan Jr, then a Congressman. The Marcos government warned all international airlines that they would be denied landing rights and forced to return if they tried to fly Aquino to the Philippines. Aquino insisted that it was his natural right as a citizen to come back to his homeland, and that no government could prevent him from doing so. He left Logan International Airport on August 13, 1983, took a circuitous route home from Boston, via Los Angeles to Singapore. In Singapore, then Tunku Ibrahim Ismail of Johor met Aquino upon his arrival in Singapore and later brought him to Johor to meet with other Malaysian leaders.[14] Once in Johor, Aquino met up with Tunku Ibrahim’s father, Sultan Iskandar, who was a close friend to Aquino.[15]

He then left for Hong Kong and on to Taipei. He had chosen Taipei as the final stopover when he learned the Philippines had severed diplomatic ties with the Republic of China (Taiwan). This made him feel more secure; the Taiwan government could pretend they were not aware of his presence. There would also be a couple of Taiwanese friends accompanying him. From Taipei he flew to Manila on then Taiwan’s flag carrier China Airlines Flight 811.[citation needed]

Marcos wanted Aquino to stay out of politics, however Aquino asserted his willingness to suffer the consequences declaring, “the Filipino is worth dying for.”[16] He wished to express an earnest plea for Marcos to step down, for a peaceful regime change and a return to democratic institutions. Anticipating the worst, at an interview in his suite at the Taipei Grand Hotel, he revealed that he would be wearing a bullet-proof vest, but he also said that “it’s only good for the body, but for the head there’s nothing else we can do.” Sensing his own doom, he told the journalists accompanying him on the flight, “You have to be ready with your hand camera because this action can become very fast. In a matter of 3 or 4 minutes it could be all over, and I may not be able to talk to you again after this.”[17] In his last formal statement that he wasn’t able to deliver, he said, “I have returned to join the ranks of those struggling to restore our rights and freedom through violence. I seek no confrontation.”

Assassination

The aftermath of Aquino’s assassination

Aquino was assassinated on August 21, 1983, when he was shot in the head after returning to the country. At the time, bodyguards were assigned to him by the Marcos government. A subsequent investigation produced controversy but no definitive results. After the Marcos government was overthrown, another investigation found sixteen defendants guilty. They were all sentenced to life in prison. Some were released over the years, the last ones in March 2009.[18]

Another man present at the airport tarmac, Rolando Galman, was shot dead shortly after Aquino was killed. The Marcos government claimed Galman was the trigger man in Aquino’s assassination.

Funeral

Sen. Ninoy Aquino’s grave (right) is next to his wife Corazon Aquino‘s (left) at the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque, Philippines.

Aquino’s body lay in state in a glass coffin. No effort was made to disguise a bullet wound that had disfigured his face. In an interview with Aquino’s mother, Aurora, she told the funeral parlor not to apply makeup nor embalm her son, to see “what they did to my son”. Thousands of supporters flocked to see the bloodied body of Aquino, which took place at the Aquino household in Times St., Quezon City for nine days. Aquino’s wife, Corazon Aquino, and children Ballsy, Pinky, Viel, Noynoy and Kris arrived the day after the assassination. Aquino’s funeral procession on August 31 lasted from 9 a.m., when his funeral mass was held at Santo Domingo Church in Santa Mesa Heights, Quezon City, with the Cardinal Archbishop of Manila, Jaime Sin officiating, to 9 p.m., when his body was interred at the Manila Memorial Park. More than two million people lined the streets during the procession which was aired by the Church-sponsored Radio Veritas, the only station to do so. The procession reached Rizal Park, where the Philippine flag was brought to half-staff.[citation needed]

Jovito Salonga, then head of the Liberal Party, said about Aquino:

Ninoy was getting impatient in Boston, he felt isolated by the flow of events in the Philippines. In early 1983, Marcos was seriously ailing, the Philippine economy was just as rapidly declining, and insurgency was becoming a serious problem. Ninoy thought that by coming home he might be able to persuade Marcos to restore democracy and somehow revitalize the Liberal Party.[19]

and called him “the greatest president we never had”[19]

Legacy

In Senator Aquino’s honor, the Manila International Airport (MIA) where he was assassinated was renamed Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and his image is printed on the 500-peso bill. August 21, the anniversary of his death, is Ninoy Aquino Day, an annual public holiday in the Philippines.[20] Several monuments were built in his honor. Most renowned is the bronze memorial in Makati City near the Philippine Stock Exchange, which has become a popular venue for anti-government rallies and large demonstrations. Another bronze statue is in front of the Municipal Building of Concepcion, Tarlac.[citation needed]

Although Aquino was recognized as the most prominent and most dynamic opposition leader of his generation, in the years prior to martial law he was regarded by many as being a representative of the entrenched familial elite which to this day dominates Philippine politics. While atypically telegenic and uncommonly articulate, he had his share of detractors and was not known to be immune to ambitions and excesses of the ruling political class.[citation needed] However, during his seven years and seven months imprisoned as a political prisoner of Marcos, Aquino read the book Born Again by convicted Watergate conspirator Charles Colson and it inspired him to a religious awakening.[21]

As a result, the remainder of his personal and political life had a distinct spiritual sheen. He emerged as a contemporary counterpart of Jose Rizal, who was among the world’s earliest proponents of the use of non-violence to combat a repressive regime. Some remained skeptical of Aquino’s redirected spiritual focus, but it ultimately had an effect on his wife’s political career. While some may question the prominence given Aquino in Philippine history, it was his assassination that was pivotal to the downfall of a despotic ruler and the eventual restoration of democracy in the Philippines.[citation needed]

Personal life

On October 11, 1954, he married Corazon “Cory” Sumulong Cojuangco, with whom he had five children (four daughters and a son):[citation needed]

  • Maria Elena Aquino-Cruz (Ballsy, born August 18, 1955), married to Eldon Cruz, sons Justin Benigno “Jiggy” Cruz and Eldon “Jonty” Cruz, Jr.
  • Aurora Corazon Aquino-Abellada (Pinky, born December 27, 1957), married to Manuel Abellada, son Miguel Abellada, daughter Nina Abellada
  • Benigno Simeon Aquino III (Noynoy, born February 8, 1960), the 15th and current President of the Philippines
  • Victoria Elisa Aquino-Dee (Viel, born October 27, 1961), married to Joseph Dee, son Francis “Kiko” Dee, daughter Jacinta Patricia “Jia” Dee
  • Kristina Bernadette Aquino (Kris, born February 14, 1971), married to James Yap (2005–2010), sons Joshua Philip “Josh” Aquino Salvador and James “Baby James/Bimby” Aquino Yap, Jr.

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Mr. Rodolfo “Dolphy” Quizon, passed away, July 17, 2012 at 2034H (8:34PM) due to Multiple Organ Failure, secondary to complications brought about by Severe Pneumonia, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, and Acute Renal Failure. According to Makati Medical Center .

Every Filipino People now give the sympathy to the Family of Dolpy because of his death. Six (6) decades of laughter given by the One and Only King of Philippine Comedy ” Rodolfo Quizon” Dolpy. Thank you for the joy you share for every Filipino and even to all people around the world who watch your movie, you are the model to us. I’m sure you are in the hand now of our  Lord.

Despite his high regard for the late King of Comedy Dolphy (or Rodolfo Vera Quizon Sr. in real life), President Benigno Aquino III won’t intervene in the process to select the new set of National Artists.

“The President thinks very highly of Mang Dolphy. However, we have stated in the past that we do not want to politicize the process. We do not want to make any prejudgments,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said during a briefing in Malacañang on Wednesday.
She issued the statement amid calls to declare Dolphy, who passed away on Tuesday night, as National Artist.
The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), together with the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), manages the process for the award.
The selection of nominees is administered by the Special Research Group, which validates the works of the nominees, and the National Artist Award Council of Peers, which screens the nominees and recommends them to the NCCA and CCP boards. The boards then deliberate and make a vote.
The final list is then presented to the President, who confirms the list and confers the award.
Dolphy nominated
Valte said that Communications Group Undersecretary Manolo Quezon had spoken to the NCCA last week and was informed that Dolphy has been nominated for the Award.
She said the late comedian was nominated by the Manila City Council.
“They will be receiving other nominations. The NCCA has gotten clearance from the Office of the Solicitor General to proceed with the screening and the vetting of nominees for National Artist for 2012. So they will be proceeding with their screening and vetting,” she said.
Valte said that when Dolphy was nominated for the same award in 2009, he only managed to pass the first screening and not the succeeding ones.
She noted, however, that they don’t want to preempt the selection process.  She likewise refused to comment on Aquino’s inclination regarding the issue.
“The President obviously has very great respect for Mang Dolphy. Nakita naman din po natin ‘yung naging pahayag ‘nung Pangulo—‘yung naging pahayag ng Pangulo noong ginawaran po siya ‘nung Order of the Golden Heart—and apart from that the statement of the President yesterday,” she said.
“[Pero] magsasalita na lang po tayo kapag nakapagbigay na ng shortlist ang NCCA for the award,” she added.
Earlier in the day, the Palace official also said that the conferment of the award must go through the proper process.
The award
The National Artist Award (Gawad Pambansang Alagad ng Sining) is considered “the highest national recognition given to Filipino individuals who have made significant contributions to the development of Philippine arts.”
The award is given both to living artists and to those who died after the establishment of the award in 1972 who excelled in the following fields: Music, Dance, Theater, Visual Arts, Literature, Film, Broadcast Arts, and Architecture and Allied Arts.

Of the 57 National Artists listed by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, 17 were recognized posthumously, including the country’s first National Artist Fernando C. Amorsolo.
Other National Artists who were recognized posthumously are Amado V. Hernandez (Literature), Carlos “Botong” V. Francisco (Painting), Ernani Joson Cuenco (Music), Felipe Padilla De Leon (Music), Ishmael Bernal (Film), J. Elizalde Navarro (Painting), Jose T. Joya (Painting), Lino Brocka (Cinema), Ramon Valera (Fashion Design), Rolando S. Tinio (Theater and Literature), Severino Montano (Theater), Vicente S. Manansala (Painting), Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero (Theater), Gerardo “Gerry” De Leon (Film), Pablo S. Antonio (Architecture), and Ronald Allan K. Poe, more popularly known as Fernando Poe Jr. (Film).
Fernando Poe Jr. is the only film actor to receive the award.
Recipients of the award are entitled to a cash prize of up to P100,000, monthly life pension, medical benefits, life insurance coverage, and a state funeral.
Valte, meanwhile, said Aquino has expressed his intention to visit Dolphy’s wake but has yet to set a specific schedule for it.

She also said that the President will still have to hear proposals to declare a National Day of Mourning for the actor’s passing.

Close friends and family members pay their last respects to Comedy King Dolphy during the private viewing at the Dolphy Theater in Quezon City on Wednesday.

After Dolphy passed away at the age of 83 on Tuesday, Filipino celebrities in the Philippines and abroad took to Twitter to pay tribute to the Comedy King.

Actor, television host and politician Edu Manzano said on Twitter “Heaven became a happier place today. The angels will be laughing together with our one and only King of Comedy. Rest in peace, friend.”

Dolphy, born Rodolfo Quizon Sr.  in Tondo, Manila on July 25, 1928, passed away at the Makati Medical Center (MMC)due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Dolphy was embraced by the Philippines for his jokes as he appeared in various films and television shows such as “John en Marsha.”

One of Dolphy’s sons, Eric Quizon, an actor, said about his father just after midnight on Wednesday: “He lived a full life. He’s at rest. He’s at peace. He knew as he was going how much the country loved him.”

Dolphy has been confined at the MMC since June 9 due to difficulty in breathing, pneumonia, and kidney ailments.

“He knew how everyone was praying for him. And if he could, he would have stayed just so he could thank you personally. But where his spirit was strong, his body had so weakened. He had to go,” Eric said.

“Pray for his eternal repose and in his honor, please smile at the person standing next to you. Heaven is a happier place with him there. And for us whom he’s left behind, comedy is dead but long live comedy,” he said.

On Twitter, Filipinos here and abroad tweeted their reaction to Dolphy’s death:

Boy 2 Quizon: “I love you lolo!”

Bruno Mars: “RIP Dolphy. King of Comedy. Made in the Philippines!”
Lea Salonga: “RIP, Comedy King. You are sorely missed. Condolences to the Quizon Family, you are in our prayers.”

KC Montero: “Dolphy has them all laughing”

Tim Yap: “A moment of silence for The King of Comedy. RIP Mang Dolphy.”

Jim Paredes: “Farewell King of Comedy.. We love you. Salamat sa lahat..Naiiyak ako…”

Bea Binene: “May you rest in peace, The Great Dolphy. R.I.P.”

Allan K.: “They say its not how long but how sweet you have lived life. Dolphy had the luxury of enjoying both. Rest in peace now. Hail to the king!!!”

Sharon Cuneta: P.9 my beloved Tito Dolphy. I will continue to do my best to follow the beautiful example you set for all of us, even when you didn’t”

Vice-Ganda: “Lord we thank you for giving us THE DOLPHY who unselfishly and passionately dedicated his whole life to make this world happy. Amen.”

Pia Magalona: “RIP Tito Dolphy. Thank you for being family to me and Francis. We love you <3”

Clara Magalona: “RIP Dolphy ☹ You have made lots of Filipinos smile because of your comedy. Our prayers are with you †”

Edu Manzano: Thank you for paving the way for those of us who tried to walk the path you made. You will be missed, my mentor and friend.#RIPDolphy

I pray for the soul of the comedy king dolpy. May his Soul Rest In Peace eternal Grant O Lord for eternal Life , In Jesus Name… Amen….

Thank you for the 6 decades of laughter and Goodbye The Comedy King , You Always in our Heart.

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This past year, I have come to appreciate the power of truly loving myself. Most of my life, being alone was one of my biggest fears. I found myself in numerous relationships for the wrong reasons and ended up settling in ill-fitting ‘partnerships’. This deeply rooted fear and lack of understanding of myself caused the relationships to become my whole world; my focus of attention; my center. I would sacrifice my own goals for the other person. And, when the relationship collapsed, so did my sense of self.

Through much introspection, I realized the source of these failed relationships was myself. I realized that I didn’t truly love or appreciate myself and had relied on external sources for love and approval. I decided to change. I had to overcome my fear of loneliness by finding independence and personal freedom. Even since I found true appreciation for myself, the quality of relationships I have attracted has been phenomenal. I have discovered that the more I loved and understood myself, the less I feared being by myself, and the more healthier relationships I was able to attract into my life.

I started doing what I called “Dates with myself“. Regardless my external relationship status, I would schedule time with myself. I would literally take myself out on a date and spend that time totally focused on myself. It’s my time. We spend so much time and energy focused on others that we forget to recharge the source of that energy. It is only when you are well that you can have the energy and internal resources to make a positive difference and help others. This is a simple, yet powerful concept that can dramatically improve your wellbeing, effectiveness and mental health.

Before attempting a ‘date with yourself’, Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Remove Disturbances – unplug your phone, power down the cell phone and blackberry, shut down the computer, turn off the tv. Do not let your mind get distracted during your self-date. This is your time to just be with yourself.
  • Being Solo – It’s important that you are on your own. You can talk to strangers, and make new friends, but you are on the self-date to get acquainted with yourself, no one else. If you live with a partner, schedule it so he/she isn’t home, or just take yourself out of the house. If you have kids, find a sitter, or plan around when your kids are not at home. It’s also important to realize that this time is a gift for yourself, and you should only be focused on your well-being.
  • Schedule – Plan how long you would like your dates to last. Set a minimum time, and commit to focus on yourself for at least that time. I typically schedule 2-4 hour dates with myself.
  • Communicate – if you are in a relationship, it’s important to communicate what you are doing and it’s benefits clearly with your partner. Not only do we get their support, but also avoid any misunderstandings or neglect.

Here are some ideas for ‘dates with yourself’. You can intermix several activities below into one date:

  • Reading Date – Go to a trendy café or find a comfortable place at home and read something inspirational for an hour or more. Have some hot herbal tea, cut up some fruits or crackers with cheese. Fully enjoy the experience.

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Thank You, Lord

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As I open my eyes

The world around excites

The sun shines in the east

The nature sings its beauty

I thank God.

 

As I extend my arms,

The human heart starts beating

The emotion gets searing

The smile becomes evident

I praise God.

 

As I start to think,

All things take place

Problems vanish

and tranquility spreads

I glorify God.

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Hear Ye!

You crowd

Behold me as an effigy

You do not even give me a

chance to be recognized as

a good one. You always take your chances.

leaving me here, empty.

You are all inaudible.

You always mock me on things

I have not done. You keep on

telling hearsay’s about me.

You do not even ask me once if they were true!

 

You dear friends,

You never knew I was crying all along

Upon the jokes you have thrown. You never

knew that sometimes it hurts so badly. I love

you, my dear ones. I wish at all times you

hear my inaudible sighs.

 

You boys,

You always deceive me. This girl love

you that much yet, you only give her harm.

Though you have kissed my soul, you easily

broke it by your vain whispers.

 

You brothers and sisters in Christ, 

You helped me in finding Hm and now I

am with you, but you never noticed that I

needed your care. Now you don’t discern

that I’m lost again. Could help me find

Him again?

 

You mom and dad,

You have spent lost of time for your

work, leaving no space, to help me figure out the

universe. Yet, you are to busy. Your love,

nurture, and guidance, that’s what I long for.

Need no diamonds, pearls nor shells to

replace a single second of your kiss, of your

hugs, of your touch.

 

You my God,

hear me cry oh God! For they hurt and

disregard my feelings! For they deceive me!

For they have not looked after me! For they

don’t dignify me! For they don’t appreciate

me! oh God! Here i am, for You are able to

love me save me. Let me give this sacrifice

of thanksgiving and be with you eternally….

 

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The great love

that I have for you

is gone,

and I find my dislike for you

grows every day.

When I see you,

I do not even like your face;

the one thing that I want to do

is to look at other girls.

I never wanted to marry.

Our last can conversation was very boring

and has not made me look forward to seeing you again.

You think only of yourself.

If we were married,

I know that I would find life very difficult,

and I would have no pleasure in living with you.

I have a heart to give,

but it is not something that I want to give to you.

No one is more foolish and selfish than you,

and you are not able to care for me and help me.

I sincerely want you to understand

that I speak the truth.

You will do me a favor

if you think this is the end.

Do not try to answer this.

Your letters are full of things that not interest me.

You have no true love for me.

Goodbye! Believe me; I do not care for you.

Please do no think that I am still your boyfriend.

And after you’ve read this lines,

I will surely depart this life…. where this poem lies.

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