Aquino Laid to Rest, Thousands Mourn

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Hundreds of thousands of mourners bid farewell to former Filipino President Corazon Aquino, as she was laid to rest, Wednesday.

The crowds were reminiscent of the millions of Filipinos who joined her in her People Power revolution in 1986, which was a series of nonviolent street mass demonstrations.

People Power Revolution

Aquino's unlikely rise began in 1983 when her husband, opposition leader, Ninoy Aquino, was assassinated as he returned from a three-year exile in the U.S. to challenge his longtime rival, the dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

It was in 1986 when Aquino, symbolizing her advocacy for peace and democracy, led the world-renown revolution.

The non-violent uprising stopped tanks in the streets and helped a plain housewife sweep away a 20-year dictatorship.

Time Magazine called her a hero who harnessed the power of prayer and protest to overthrow tyranny.
 
Her trials did not end with the revolution. As president, she survived seven coup attempts, attributing her victories to what she called a special gift of faith.

"I believe God gave me a special gift of faith," Aquino said during a 1987 interview.

A Unifying Force

Even after her presidential term, Aquino continued to be a unifying force, peacefully fighting for truth and against corruption.

In 2005, she called for the resignation of President Gloria Arroyo over allegations of vote-rigging and corruption. But again she stressed that behind people power was a greater source of power.

"It is not only going out to the streets, it is important to pray to God what is the best for the nation," she said

Bro. Eddie Villanueva, leader of the Jesus is Lord Church in the Philippines, believes that even in death, God is using the memory of Aquino's faith and persistnece to rekindle the Filipino people's faith in God.

"We should continue to follow the example of our beloved President Cory Aquino, her sacrifices, her service for this nation and above all her love for God and country," Villanueva said.

And as their nation is beset with political and economic crises, some Filipinos are hoping that the funeral march will be not only the final farewell to a great leader, but also the first steps in following the path that Aquino followed her whole life -- to fight without compromise for democracy, truth and justice.

*Originally aired August 5, 2009.

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Lucille Talusan

Lucille Talusan

CBN News Correspondent

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