24 June 1945
It’s amazing how a single date tells you so much about a person’s life.
Now we know:
- Eduardo Rusca was 72 when he died, so he had to have been born in the first half of 1873.
- He was 26 when Luna was assassinated, so he lived with his grief and guilt for 46 years.
- He lived to see the Americans come into power, the Commonwealth, and the horrors of another war.
- He didn’t live to see it end.
The Heneral Luna researchers also found few material on Eduardo Rusca beyond the fact that he was incredibly loyal to Antonio Luna, because historians had so little on him to begin with. What we know of him is only born of creative license; the kind of person he was in life still remains a mystery.
Even in the genealogy records of the Church of Latter Day Saints, Lira and I found only this one hit. It’s nowhere near satisfying, but it’s a start.
Working on the Sta. Cruz, Manila lead, I went to Manila North Cemetery to inquire if Rusca was buried there, but they no longer have records as far back as 1945. Yesterday, the Ruscats girls went to La Loma Cemetery to ask around and found nothing on him too.
We’re considering leads such as more sophisticated (read: expensive) genealogy tracers and digging through records for now, but there’s no guarantee that those are going to turn up anything on someone whose life and death apparently wasn’t glorious enough to make the books.
Realistically speaking, considering he died in June 1945, and WWII didn’t end in July 1945, it’s also entirely possible that Rusca could have been listed as a resident of Sta. Cruz, but traveled elsewhere during the war and wound up in a mass grave far away from Manila. Cemeteries, I imagine, weren’t meticulously kept during those years.
I’ve been made aware that better historians than us have tried to find him and failed. Is that going to stop us from searching for him? I doubt it.
In line with this, it would be nice if on Friday, 24 June 2016, we could all do something–light candles, write or make art in his memory, or at the very least just send up a prayer of thanks–to remember Eduardo Rusca.
It’s possible that it’s been years since anyone’s commemorated his death, and he, just like all the lesser-known heroes of the past, deserves better.
He will have been dead 71 years this year, almost as long as he had been alive.
If you have grander ideas about how to spend this day, please let’s try to make them happen. Our captain, whomever he may have been in life, deserves to know that we’re thinking of him, and we do not forget the bravery he displayed while he was living.