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The Forgotten Heroes (Pt. 1)

Updated on October 21, 2017
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Daniela is a current student who aspires to make a change with her words by writing about the world around her and everything in between.

Who are we to decide who becomes a hero, and who becomes forgotten?

History is the greatest tragedy of all. Since the beginnings of civilization, people have risen up and become righteous leaders for the greater good. Some have their names written in textbooks, while others are looked up to by our current commanders. However, there are some individuals who have done just as much as the celebrated heroes, but are hidden in the shadows of the past, never remembered by those who are alive because of them. And yet, who are we to decide who becomes a hero, and who becomes forgotten?

And so, without further ado, here are some Forgotten Heroes:


  • Monsignor Hugh O Flanerty: During World War II, Jews were abused and murdered because of the radical beliefs by the Nazi-Germans. Because of this, more than 6 million of Jews died during this time period. And yet, there were many people who fought against this injustice, and tried their hardest to save the innocent. Hugh O Flanerty was one of those saviours. During his lifetime, the Monsignor rescued over 6,500 Jews, as well as forces from the Allies. Thanks to all his service, he received the US Medal of Freedom, as well as the title of Commander of the British Empire.


  • Rita Levi-Montalcini: When she was young, Rita Levi-Montalcini rebelled against her parents by attending school. She made most of her experiments in her own bedroom, after losing her laboratory. While she lived in Italy, World War II was taking place, and she was forced to escape into the undergrounds. Once the Allies won the war, she began working on the concept of cells, and thanks to her, many medical advances were brought forth. Rita Levi-Montalcini earned the Nobel Prize for Medicine, and she continued to work in the sciences, as well as the improvement of society.


  • Sybil Ludington: When she was 16 years old, Sybil Ludington rode into the pitch of the dark in a journey to warn the Continental Army of the oncoming British attack. Riding in a horse for more than 40 miles, she warned the people of Danbury, Conneticut, where a base full of supplies laid. This young girl traveled more than twice the distance as Paul Revere, and was the cause of future success. Sybil Ludington became a heroine of the American Revolution, and was praised even by George Washington himself.


  • Chien-Shiung Wu: Also recognized as the "First Lady Of Physics," Chien-Shiung Wu was the designer of the "Wu Experiment." This experiment led to the disapproval of a basic law of physics, and even she was the main designer, she did not win the Nobel Prize, while her coworkers did. She was also awarded the medal of science, which is the most prestigious science award given by the government. Chien-Shiung Wu also became the first female to be chosen as the President of the American Physical Society, and has been a great inspiration for many.


  • Mary Seacole: Born in Jamaica, Mary Seacole helped tend the wounded during the Crimean War, a conflict between Russia, and the allied Britain, Sardinia, Turkey, and France. Seacole helped the British soldiers, and provided them with food, clothes, and any other kind of help she could provide. She was given the name "Mother Seacole" by the army, and even though she was often judged because of the color of her skin, she still did the right things, regardless of the racial injustice of this time.


  • Mary Bowser: After being a former slave, Mary Bowser, who had photographic memory, became a spy for the Union when she acted as an unintelligent slave for Jefferson Davis, the Confederate president. After the Civil War ended, she became a teacher for former slaves, and she later founded a school in Georgia. However, after 1867, nothing seems to remain of her. She disappeared, just like any good spy would, and just how her story still remains hidden within history.


  • Robert Smalls: In the midst of the Civil War, a slave was brave enough to take control of a Confederate ship and give it to the Union. This slave was given the title of General, and proceeded to serve in Congress for 5 years. This slave was Robert Smalls. After retiring from politics, his presence still played a role in society. One of his last actions as a hero was to cease a lynching that was about to kill 2 black men. Robert Smalls remains, and will continue to remain, a hero who does not receive enough credit for his actions.


  • Queen Seondeok: Famously recognized as the first female to succeed the king, Queen Seondeok of Korea was a woman who greatly influenced the Asian continent. Possessing intellectual abilities, as well as a good way to handle conflict, Queen Seondeok helped Korea to begin a bond with China. One of her greatest accomplishments was Cheomseongdae, or the Star-Gazing Tower, the oldest astronomical observatory in the Asian continent. Apart from all of this, Queen Seondeok inspired the beginnings of the arts, including literature, creations, etc.

Conclusion: Forgotten History

Many figures in the history of the world have been elevated to the stairs of heaven with a song of praise, while others have seemingly disappeared without a trace from the lines of a textbook. It is because of this reason that my passion to tell stories has suddenly flared. It is not simply the job of the people in the past to tell history, but rather, the job is now suddenly in my hands and the hands of all of us.

We are all now historians who have the choice about what to write about, and who to shine the light to.

And so now, stories, just like the ones these forgotten heroes, need to be written, once again.

Grab a pen, and begin writing.

© 2017 Daniela E

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