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December 24, 1941

My hands were now rough and full of calluses resulting from the intensive training given us. We were being trained 24 hours a day. This is the life I have always yearned for. Hard and trying as the training was, our time was full of cheerful and happy moments. Today, everyone was planning, conniving and compromising to get a furlough for Christmas. Passes were granted. I was one of the fortunate ones. My leave was scheduled to start at five in the afternoon. At 4:30 p.m., word came from our commandant who was then at headquarters, to hold all leaves. Then at 5:00 p.m., he arrived and explained that the High Command had seen it fit to disband the ROTC cadets, to send them home and there to wait for another call.

I saw tears in the Commandant’s eyes as he gave the order to disband. I saw tears in every one’s eyes. I felt tears welling in my own. Our privilege and honor to serve our country in the front lines as officers had been denied. We all expressed to the Commandant our objection, but it was all in vain. Finally, we told him that if he should be assigned to any unit and needed men, all he had to do was to notify us, and we would willingly volunteer even as enlisted men. We all wanted to fight side by side under his command. We knew him, we trusted him. He gave his word to notify us.

The few of us who could not return home for lack of transportation had to stay at the Ateneo on Christmas eve. We spent it singing Christmas carols in the dark and shady patio of the college. It was a quiet, solemn and impressive Christmas eve for me.