Heroes of history

April 10, 2020

It goes without saying that right now the world is experiencing challenging times. These are times that will make their way into the chapters of future history books. Now is also a time where we can look back on history and seek inspiration from past heroes who have shown bravery, leadership, compassion and hope during challenging times of their own. 

We encourage you to share these stories with your kids. And, as a fun activity - get them to research one person they feel inspired by, and present them back to you!  

Valentina Tereshkova. 

“If women can be railroad workers in Russia, why can’t they fly in space?”

The Russian superwoman, Valentina Tereshkova started out her career as a textile factory worker and an amateur skydiver. In her 20s, Valentina was brilliant enough to be selected for the Soviet Space Programme, where she trained to become an astronaut!

In 1963, at 26 years old, Valentina became the first woman in space. She spent three days in space, and orbited the earth forty-eight times. 

Valentina challenged the preconceptions around the role that women could play in space exploration. During the 1960s, women all around the world were standing up for their rights, and fighting to have the same opportunities as men. Valentina put the previous four American astronauts – all male – to shame, with their combined total of thirty-six earth orbits! 

65 women have now traveled to space, and Valentina remains the only woman to fly to space solo. 

If your young human is interested in space adventures, don't worry, we have the program just for them! Check out Rocket Lab Explorers.

Rick Rescorla 

On September 11 2001, Rick was working in the World Trade Centre’s South Tower in New York City, as Head of Corporate Security at one of the world’s biggest banks. 

As the first terrorist plane flew into the North Tower, Rick was told to keep his employees at their desks. Rick refused, stating "Everything above where that plane hit is going to collapse, and it's going to take the whole building with it. I'm getting my people out of here." (An amazing fact is that Rick had actually already prepared his employees for a terrorist attack by enforcing practice drills and training them for an actual emergency).  

As the North Tower was collapsing, Rick directed 2,700 employees and visitors out of South Tower. By the time the second plane hit, they were safely out! During the evacuation, Rick calmly reassured people and sang "God Bless America" and "Men of Harlech" over a horn as they walked down the stairs.

Tragically, Rick was last seen on the 10th floor of the South Tower, heading upward to look for any more people who still remained inside. Rick was as brave as they get, and thousands of people are still alive because of him. 

Franklin D. Roosevelt. 

He’s also known as “FDR”, was the 32nd President of the United States (and is often thought of as one of the three greatest Presidents that America has ever had!)

FDR had polio disease, which permanently paralysed his legs, and led to him using a wheelchair for most of his life.  Although dealing with this crippling disease was difficult, many believe that his personal struggles helped shape FDR, both as a man and as a President. 

FDR is famous for having a very positive attitude despite his disease and the number of challenges that he faced as President, including, pulling the country out of the Great Depression and leading the country to victory during World War II. 

FDR saw every difficulty as an opportunity, and never ceased to provide the American people with hope and optimism. Fun fact: during the Great Depression, America had to shut the banks, and FDR decided to name this a “bank holiday” to give the situation some cheer! 

At Peoply, we are really inspired by people who do amazing things for the world and humanity. We’ve even got a programme called Great Minds, dedicated to just this! You can read more about the people we learn about, and what the programme is like here.

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