“We shall someday be heeded, and when we shall have our amendment to the Constitution of the United States, everybody will think it was always so, just exactly as many young people think that all the privileges, all the freedom, all the enjoyments which woman now possesses always were hers. They have no idea of how every single inch of ground that she stands upon today has been gained by the hard work of some little handful of women of the past.”
– Susan B. Anthony
Susan dedicated much of her life to fighting for equality. Born in 1820 to a father who was an abolitionist, who cared deeply for social reform and who encouraged all of his seven children to be self supporting. Susan became active in social reform by her late teens when she collected anti-slavery petitions.
This was just the beginning of fighting against slavery, taking part in the underground railroad and fighting for equal rights for women, especially for the right to vote.
Susan dedicated herself fully to the causes, traveling around the U.S., around the world. And she would face backlash. In one speech in Syracuse shortly before the start of the Civil War, “rotten eggs were thrown, benches broken, and knives and pistols gleamed in every direction.”
But still she pushed on.
She didn’t get to live to see women vote. She passed away fourteen years before the amendment passed. Her work, her ability to organize and drive the movement however was instrumental in change taking place.
Today we celebrate her birthday, we celebrate Susan B. Anthony day, and we celebrate women’s suffrage in the U.S.
Dr. Leonid Rogozov is there as part of a small team of Russian researchers. One day he feels weak, nauseous, and pain in his abdomen. He diagnoses himself with acute appendicitis.
Surgery is necessary for him to get better. But the nearest surgical centers are too far away given time and transportation constraints.
So he decides to have surgery in the research facility.
Under local anesthesia and with assistance from a surgical team of a driver and a meteorologist and a man who serves as backup just in case one of the first two pass out, the doc proceeds to remove his own appendix.
He takes short breaks during the surgery to deal with nausea and vomiting and stress. But after an hour and forty five minutes, he’s done. His close to bursting appendix is out.
He recovers well and goes on to live a long, healthy life.
“I hate wars and violence but if they come then I don’t see why we women should just wave our men a proud goodbye and then knit them balaclavas.”
Nancy Wake was once the most wanted person by the Gestapo. They had a bounty of 5-million-francs on her head. But she was always able to elude capture. A skill which earned her the nickname of “White Mouse” by the Gestapo.
Nancy became a resistance fighter during WWII after living in Vienna in the late 1930s and seeing “roving Nazi gangs randomly beating Jewish men and women in the streets.” She vowed to do anything she could to stop the Nazi movement. In her words, “my hatred of the Nazis was very, very deep.”
She became a courier and an escort for Allied soldiers and refugees looking to leave France. “It was much easier for us, you know, to travel all over France. A woman could get out of a lot of trouble that a man could not.”
And she would do anything necessary to aid the resistance movement.
“By her own account she once killed a German sentry with her bare hands, and ordered the execution of a woman she believed to be a German spy.”
And in “April 1944, when she was 31, she was among 39 women and 430 men who were parachuted into France to help with preparations for D-Day.”
Nancy became one of the most decorated servicewomen of the war by the Allies. Looking back she would remark, “I was never afraid. I was too busy to be afraid.”
“He told the orphans they were going out into the country, so they ought to be cheerful. At last they would be able to exchange the horrible suffocating city walls for meadows of flowers, streams where they could bathe, woods full of berries and mushrooms. He told them to wear their best clothes, and so they came out into the yard, two by two, nicely dressed and in a happy mood.”
Then he walked with them, “his head bent forward, holding the hand of a child, without a hat, a leather belt around his waist, and wearing high boots.”
Janusz Korczak ran an orphanage in Warsaw before the war started. Then in 1940 his orphanage was forced to move to the Warsaw ghetto. Janusz went with the children.
He had opportunities to leave the ghetto. The resistance wanted to help him escape. He chose to stay, to be with the children, to be with them to the end, to that day in early August of 1942, when he had to convince the SS men to let him go with the children to Treblinka, an extermination camp.
“I exist not to be loved and admired, but to love and act. It is not the duty of those around me to love me. Rather, it is my duty to be concerned about the world, about man.”
This was Janusz Korczak.
Note: photo is of Janusz and a few children under his care playing musical instruments.
Hazel Lee loved to swim, and play handball, and play cards, and cook. And she loved to fly planes.
About flying, her sister described the love of aviation for Hazel as she “enjoyed the danger and doing something that was new to Chinese girls.”
During WWII, the U.S. didn’t have enough male pilots. So the Women Airforce Service Pilots was created.
Hazel was invited to join. And the young woman, born to Chinese parents in Portland, Oregon accepted, even though WASP pilots were not officially considered part of the military and thus received no military benefits.
Her attitude towards work was described well by a fellow pilot — “I’ll take and deliver anything.”
Calm and fearless, she had a great attitude and a sense of humor. And she loved to play pranks. She “used her lipstick to inscribe Chinese characters on the tail of her plane and the planes of her fellow pilots. One lucky fellow who happened to be a bit on the chubby side, had his plane dubbed (unknown to him) ‘Fat Ass.’”
On November 23rd, 1944, flying in bad weather in North Dakota, she crashed with another plane upon landing. She suffered severe burns and two days later she passed away.
Of the 38 female pilots to die during WWII, Hazel was the last one.