Bouquets for our hero in Paris

Place Dr José Rizal, on Rue Maubeuge, Paris 14th district.

This year 2008, June 19 marked the first time that the commemorative plaques at sites in Paris visited by our national hero, Dr José Rizal, were decorated with flowers. Of the eleven sites in Paris, only six had the official plaques of the National Historical Commission.

Our sunny morning began with the trooping of the colors at the Philippine Embassy at Hameau Bougainvilliers, Paris, followed by the national anthem, oath and invocation. The Chapter Commander invited His Excellency, Ambassador José A. Zaide, former Commander of the Berlin Chapter and now on leave from active participation in the fraternity, to address the Chapter on this special day.

Sir Carlos Arnaldo , KCR, Commander; Sir Elpidio Caimoy, KR to be inducted ; HE Ambassador Jose Abeto Zaide ; Sir Leo Mojica, KCR, Chancellor ; Sir Jhun Oabel, KOR, Pursuivant at the Philippine Embassy, Paris

The Ambassador recalled that Rizal was not a hero only of the Philippines, but a man for all seasons, recognised by all Asians. Many famous Asians have written of him, and lately, Anwar Ibrahim of Malaysia. “Rizal aimed for the highest ideals,” the Ambassador Zaide said, “like an archer who does not simply aim at the target, but far beyond it, to strike his goal. . . . I commend the fraternity for recalling this day and renewing those ideals of Rizal in all of us.”

In discussions with the chapter, Ambassador Zaide informed us that he had met recently with Sir Ambeth Ocampo, Director of the National Historical Institute; and that he had a new design in readiness, a bas relief plaque of Rizal, and that this might be a more fitting solution to the goal of placing a bust of the national hero on the site of Place Dr José Rizal in Paris. Deeply conscious of art and history, the Hotel de Ville of Paris has extremely strict regulations on the mounting of permanent statues or busts in the municipality, and the negotiations for a statue of José Rizal have been running now for over ten years.

Sir Elpidio Caimoy, KR being pinned with the medal of the Knights of Rizal by his wife, Arcy.

We then proceeded to the induction of Sir Elpidio Caimoy, scholar, professor, writer, journalist, chaplain, candidate proposed by Sir Leo Mojica, KCR, Chancellor. Sir Bernard Pot, KOR, Deputy Commander and Head of the Prefectural Tribune for Membership has previously held interviews and examined his scholarly and moral qualities.

Sir Carlos Arnaldo, KCR, Chapter Commander dubbed Sir Elpidio. All offered their warm congratulations, a prelude to the pinning of his KR medal by his lovely and talented wife, Mrs Arcy Caimoy. Sir Elpi spoke eloquently of his thrill to be inducted as a Knight of Rizal, saying that this moment evoked in him memories of his son and of himself when he was 14 years old, and the urgent need today to help the Filipino youth in France. These are the children of migrant families, many of them born here in France, or of French-Filipino couples. In either case, these young boys and girls are often too quickly absorbed in the host culture, lose their taste for speaking their native language and they have few resources to learn their culture. In other cases, they adapt with difficulty to the host culture. There is thus great need to support them in terms or orientation and career development in their new setting.

Sir Choy Arnaldo, KCR and Sir Leo, KCR reach up to tie the bouquets of roses.

After the Non Omnis Moriar, the chapter officers proceeded to visit the sites where Rizal stayed in Paris, to tie a wreath of flowers on 6 of the eleven sites, that had a commemorative plaque to the national hero, and three bouquets at the Place Dr José Rizal on Rue Maubeuge Paris. This proposition by Sir Leo, KCR, Chancellor, was unanimously approved and put into action.

Sir Bernard Pot, KOR, Deputy Commander with Sir Jhun Oabel, KOR, Pursuivant.

The first stop, Cité Fleurie on Boulevard Arago in the 14th district, is a residence for artists as at the time, Rizal lived there with Juan Luna and other artists. One can imagine them philosophising until deep into the night, in the flowered gardens. Another bouquet was placed on the plaque at the former Clinique of Dr Wecker, now a school for modern and digital arts. This is where Rizal studied ophthalmology and performed surgery. Our main and final stop was at the Place Dr José Rizal on Rue Maubeuge in the 9th district. This is a small but beautiful triangular space studded with mature trees, where we hope soon, to place a bust or bas relief of Rizal with an historical note.

Sir C. Arnaldo, KCR, Chapter Commander, Dimasalang Ile de France, Sir Jhun Oabel, KR Pursuivant ; Sir Leo Mojica, KCR, Chancellor ; Sir Bernard Pot, KOR, Deputy Commander at Place Dr José Riza, Paris.

Since the posting of the commemorative plaques more than fifteen years ago, this is the first time that the hero’s birth anniversary was celebrated with flowers. It is proposed that this be a regular annual event.






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