April 24, 1948
INTO the setting sun, merging into the shades of night, goes the spirit of President Manuel Roxas, bound for “the undiscovered country from whose born no traveler returns,” leaving behind a sad and sorrowful and anguished people. For him no more the breaking of the dawn, the call to the day’s pressing duties, the cares and burdens of the State, the sleepless hours in the silent watches of the night, or the occasional happy mingling with the thousands whom he served.
And tomorrow (Sunday), “in memoriam,” his people will do him homage, a nation will mourn his loss. In Manila, the cerements of woe, the solemn tolling of the bells, the slow passing of the caisson and the long cortege, with the family of the late President and high officialdom, from the Malacañang to the Hall of Congress, the hushed throngs lining the route of passage, the eloquent and soul-stirring eulogies in honor of the departed, then the procession to the North Cemetery under military escort with the US Army and the British Navy participating, and at the Cemetery the last sad obsequies, the lowering of the bier, the three volleys, the bugle blowing the mournful notes of the soldier’s requiem, “taps,” and all the impressive and somber ritual that marks the interment of the illustrious and soldier dead.
Likewise throughout the provinces will there be general observance. There also the bells will toll and by means of the radio and loud speaker the last solemn rites be heard. And there, doubtless, as here in Manila, there will be many a sigh and mayhap even a tear from those who knew him well, or perchance even from those who had only heard him speak or had the pleasure of greeting him and clasping his hand.
Yes, Manuel Roxas, President Roxas, is dead, and a nation bows its head in grief. Less than four years ago it was robbed of its beloved son, Manuel L. Quezon, and now again it is sorely afflicted, the hand of Death is laid heavily upon it. It bears its cross, but:
No more for him life’s stormy conflicts,
Nor victory, nor defeat—no more time’s dark events,
Charging like ceaseless clouds across the sky.