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June 25, 2010

The Valedictory Speech

I am not certain if I made the right decision. Certainly it is not an easy choice. There are reasons that led to this decision. However, I am certain that no matter where this choice will lead me in the future, I feel no regrets having experienced the opportunity-of-a-lifetime. The only motivation from the beginning was to serve. Perhaps there is a much bigger design at work. Nonetheless, the same passion to make a difference fueled me to even break through my limitations. It started as a personal journey towards self-discovery, the search for the boundaries that limit one's individuality and capacity. It proceeded with having opportunities to connect with people, traveling perhaps the same road, in search of their own individuality. These connections shall remain perpetuated in my heart and mind.

It was not an easy choice and the letting go was painful considering that there were so many hands to let go. While others broke free quite easily, others wanted to hold on with a firm clasp.

But it was time to let go, given the circumstances.

However, this letting go does not actually mean abandoning the motivation that started all this. The same motivation runs in the veins. The same passion kindles within. One cannot be separated from this calling. It is like an intricate fabric woven into the spirit.

There have been many gains and more struggles left behind the trail. I am changing course, but always heading for the same direction. Despite the frustrations and struggles, the call to service has not faded. It must never fade. For when it does, it is only then that I cease to exist.

It has been the most wonderful ride of my life. Both the ups and downs were essential in the pursuit of my self-discovery. It has never been easy and it will never be easy. Perhaps in this new and uncertain road that I take I shall face the same struggles, similar frustrations and likely failures. But they are necessary.

What gives me comfort is the love of family and also the loyalty of true friends and the promise of hope. The love of family enabled me to spread my wings and soar into heights. The loyalty of friends enabled me to glide in mid-air without fear of falling. The promise of hope has served as a beacon in the stormiest nights. With the joys and pains, I am growing. I could not retreat into myself. It is demanded that one should radiate out, expand, touch other people's lives. The process can be dangerous for it requires the outpouring of one's self, the emptying of one's self. But of all human activities, it is the most fulfilling.

I am thankful for the opportunity to pour out myself, with all the God-given talents and weaknesses. Perhaps it is the only gift I can give to the world.

I shall never forget the faces of people who taught me so many lessons about life, about living and dying. I shall never forget the light moments with friends, fellow soldiers in the battle for better living, who from now on shall cease to be friends and shall be henceforth considered as family. I shall never forget their kindness.

Perhaps God shall find a way for me to repay them with my own gratitude in a more concrete way. The means by which I can do so remain unclear for now. Indeed, it is not enough to utter words of thanks to these mentors that taught me so much. I am looking forward to that day. I am even looking forward to opportunities that will allow me to pay it forward, to share the motivation and passion, to light fires in other people's hearts and minds, to share their war stories, to tell those who are unaware of the realities.

It has been an honor serving the people. I will never cease to do so. Perhaps that is by far the most certain thing that I will ever do.



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