Ilocanos mark birth anniversary of Ablan Sr., a World War II hero

LAOAG CITY, August 31 (PIA) – Residents here marked the birth anniversary of World War II hero, the late Ilocos Norte Governor Roque B. Ablan Sr.

The celebration, called Ablan Day, was pursuant to Republic Act 6941 which declared August 9 a special holiday in Ilocos Norte.

The event was ushered in by a simple wreath-laying ceremony at the Ablan Shrine here led by Senior Superintendent Antonio Mendoza Jr., Ilocos Norte police director, together with the surviving Ablan’s family members led by Anna Marie Ablan.

Also present during the wreath-laying rite were France Consul General Christopher Hue and former Congressman Roque Ablan Jr.

Joining the main celebration held at the Ilocos Norte National High School campus here were students, teachers, boy and girl scouts, policemen and employees of the various local government units of the province.

In his message, guest speaker Mendoza related the life of late Governor Ablan to a famous man in the bible scripture named Enoch, who holds a rare distinction in the Bible. The bible says Enoch did not die, instead, God “took him away.”

He recalled that on December 10, 1942, Ablan left for Cagayan to confer with Governor Marcelo Adduru with the last words to his family: “How I hate myself for having only one life to give to my country. But don’t cry, I will be back when liberty returns to our people.”

Afterwards, Ablan never came back and his disappearance remained a mystery to this day. Historians say Ablan was killed in action in a fierce fight against the Japanese invaders.

For her part, Anna Marie Ablan – the late Governor Ablan’s grand daughter, expressed her thanks to the people of Ilocos Norte for honoring her grandfather.

“I am hoping that the heroic deeds of my grandfather will keep inspiring the Ilocanos especially the youth to become better to overcome difficulty, no matter who you are; and no matter how difficult the situation is; we have to overcome it and that is the life story of our Lolo Roque,” she said.(FREDDIE G. LAZARO)