Solenn Heussaff was one of the few celebrities who got the chance to visit the war-stricken city of Marawi and she couldn’t help but shed a tear when she saw the brave Filipino soldiers who faced the local terrorist group.
“I was invited to visit our soldiers at the Armed Forces of the Philippines Health Service Command and to be quite honest, I didn’t know what to expect. (…) I knew I wanted to personally thank the men who fight for us. But then I realized that they were not just men… but heroes,” she wrote on her blog solenn.ph.
She then described how the soldiers looked when she met them.
“As I went from bed to bed, I came across men who were smiling, but whose souls were crying out. My tears welled up and I felt my heart pounding in my throat as I held their hands one by one. Some were ‘better’ than others, some couldn’t really react. Many were missing a finger, a leg, an arm. Some of them were smiling through pain and some had smiles I couldn’t even see due to severe burns.”
She then reflected and commended their bravery and dedication to protect the Philippines.
“Why is it that we are so distracted by small and stupid things when this is happening so close to us? Why is it that these heroes suffer in silence, while we all just go through life normally?
“All I could tell them was, ‘Thank you, you are heroes.’ We can’t say, ‘I can imagine what you’re going through,’ because we can’t. We can’t say, ‘Things will be fine, because their memories of what happened aren’t.’ We can’t say, ‘Just hold on,’ because who can blame them if they can’t, after all that they’ve seen and been through?”
This situation inspired Solenn for her art piece.
In the end, she asked her readers to thank and acknowledge the soldiers in any way possible.
“So I am asking you from the bottom of my heart, if you can help them in any way—physically, emotionally, morally—to give them something to acknowledge what they have done for us. And let’s also not forget their families who are going through this difficult time with them.”
“A few of the men even jokingly said (yes, even at their state, they still find it in their heart to make jokes), ‘Picture na lang tayo sa ibang phone kasi nawala cellphone ko sa Marawi.’ I’m sure they would appreciate phones, too, to keep in touch with their loved ones.”