I have seen memories from the war preserved and plastered on the walls of our house in Sta. Ana. The walls want the visitors to know that the family is no stranger to violence.
I was told that the certificates, photographs, and documents were testimonies of an epic we have been preserving for decades. The memorabilia have traveled their way into different places, smuggled into bags and suitcases as if they are fragile, momentous artifacts. The walls are decorated with credentials earned from the United States Army. Framed titles and diplomas mounted on the partitions of our family house. Shiny medals to award near-death experiences.
Lives were prized; they were fated to succumb.
Our great grandfather, Lolo Ambrosio survived two World Wars. Father told me that our great grandfather never boasted the life he had, nor did he recount the tale. nor did he recount the tales he stored in his body. And perhaps this is why the records were delicately positioned on the walls. His body was a map—and our family traversed routes through the pinpoints hanging on partitions.
And I wondered what it would be like to have your suffering mounted on the confines of what could’ve been your sanctuary. What could parading torment do for you, for your loved ones? I believed that these intentions came off as warnings, or an excuse for guests to recognize they’ve made it past violence and that they are here, distanced from the possibilities of trepidation, the sight of casualties.
And perhaps this is why our family house displayed remembrances of the war despite its dreadful reminders – our great grandfather made it out alive, and these entities commemorated his lifetime.