"They are united in heaven as they were on earth." Thus said the priest during a Eucharistic Celebration on Sunday marking the 55th wedding anniversary of martyred hero Benigno âNinoy" Aquino Jr. and the late President Corazon âCory" Aquino. Members of the Aquino family and their close friends gathered at the Manila Memorial Park in ParaÃ±aque City to commemorate their union. It was the first wedding anniversary to be celebrated after Coryâs death last August 1, 2009. Ninoy was assassinated in 1983 upon his arrival in the country after being exiled in the United States. Sen. Benigno Simeon âNoynoy" Aquino III, the coupleâs only son, said that if there was one thing that characterized his parents' marriage, it would be their selfless love not only for other people but also for the country. "It was their love for the other that enabled them to overcome the obstacles. They would not have accomplished what they did, if not for the presence of each other in their lives," he said in an interview. The same sentiment was echoed by Fr. Manny Domingo, the Mass celebrant and a close friend of Cory's. In his homily, Fr. Domingo said the coupleâs loyalty to the country sprung from their unparalleled loyalty to each other. 'Eternal love'Described as âeternal," their love story is one of the most celebrated stories in the country. The two were married on October 11, 1954 at the Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Pasay City. Many note that the name of the church fitted what awaited the couple, particularly to Cory. A shy and low-profile housewife, she had to endure the tumultuous political career of her husband, who would later be a major opposition figure under the regime of Ferdinand Marcos. With his tenacity and gift of gab, Ninoy became Marcosâ staunchest political critic. He was a potential frontrunner in the 1973 elections. But no presidential elections would take place: On September 21, 1972, Marcos put the country under martial law. Two days later, Ninoy was arrested. He would be detained for almost seven years and seven months.
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In the film "The Last Journey of Ninoy," Cory narrated her familyâs visit to her husband at a military camp in Laur, Nueva Ecija. It was during this visit that she saw him cry for the first time. She admitted taking tranquilizers before the visit, making her husband wonder why she was so calm while he was breaking down in front of their children. In 1979, Marcos granted Ninoyâs request for a 36-hour furlough to renew his marital vows. It was said that Ninoy used the opportunity to slip a letter to Jaime Cardinal Sin, who led the ceremony. A portion of the letter reportedly read: âYour eminence, only you can lead our exodus through the dessert." Cardinal Sin would later play a vital role in the EDSA revolution that would catapult Cory to MalacaÃ±ang. In 1980, Ninoy was exiled to the US. He stayed with his family for a blissful three years until finally deciding to return to the Philippines in August 1983. That decision cost him his life, for immediately upon his arrival on August 21, he was gunned down at the then Manila International Airport. Ninoy's death sparked widespread anti-Marcos sentiments, which finally culminated in the dictatorâs ouster in the EDSA Revolution of 1986 and sent Cory to the presidency. 'Unequaled love' In his last letter to his wife, written hours before he was assassinated, Ninoy assured her that his love âwill never be equaled." He also thanked her for supporting him during the trying times when he was incarcerated. âAll the things I want to tell you may be capsulized in one line â I love you! ... I realize Iâve been very stingy with praise and appreciation for all your efforts â but though unsaid â you know that as far Iâm concerned, you are the best. Thatâs why weâve lasted this long. There will only be one thing in the world I will never accept â that you love me more than I love you â because my love for you though unarticulated will never be equaled," a portion of the letter read. Their marriage lasted for 29 years, cut short by Aquino's assassination.- GMANews.TV
Mr. Aquino wrote the following letter to Cory hours before he was gunned down on Aug. 21, 1983. My Dearest Cory, In a few hours I shall be embarking on an uncertain fate, which may well be the end of a long struggle. I slept well last night for the first time since I left Boston â maybe because Iâm just plain tired or Iâm really at peace with myself. I want to tell you many things but time is running out and I do not have any machine. After a few more paragraphs, my penmanship will be illegible. All the things I want to tell you may be capsulized in one line â I love you! Youâve stood by me in my most trying moments and there were times I was very hard on you. But if anyone will ever understand me, it is you, and I know you will always find it in your heart to forgive â and unfair and ironic as it is â it is because of this thought and belief that I often took you for granted. Early on I knew I was not meant to make money â so I wonât be able to leave anything to the children. I did what I thought I could do best, which is public service, and I hope our people in time will appreciate my sacrifices. This would be my legacy to the children. I may not bequeath them material wealth but I leave them a tradition which can be priceless. I realize Iâve been very stingy with praise and appreciation for all your efforts â but though unsaid â you know that as far Iâm concerned, you are the best. Thatâs why weâve lasted this long. There will only be one thing in the world I will never accept â that you love me more than I love you âbecause my love for you though unarticulated will never be equaled. If all goes well I should be back in my cell before sundown. Should I be detained do not rush to get home. Take your time and enjoy a side trip to Europe with the girls. Iâll try to call you tonight if the authorities will allow me. Otherwise just remember me in your dreams. Love, Ninoy P.S. I offered a special rosary for Papa and I asked for his intercession. You know he never failed me. (Ninoy was referring to Coryâs late father, Jose Cojuangco, who died on Aug. 21, 1976)