The Story of a Vietnam War Veteran: The Stockdale Paradox
September 9, 1965, was a life-changing day for James Stockdale. It was the day that his Douglas A-4 Skyhawk was shot out of the sky, forcing him to eject to save his own life.
The North Vietnamese captured the American admiral that day. But little did they know then that they would take in a very, very troublesome prisoner.
They detained Stockdale at the Hỏa Lò Prison, the infamous “Hanoi Hilton.” He soon established communications among the American prisoners of war, and a code of rules to organize the prisoners and boost their morale.
Dwight D. Eisenhower was an avid reader of history.
In his memoir, At Ease: Stories I Tell to Friends, the former president tells about his childhood days lost in books about Greece, Rome, Egypt, and Persia. He loved the stories about famous warriors, kings, and philosophers—the “peaks and promontories,” as he calls it, of history.
But writing his memoir in the 1960s, as an older and wiser man, his view of history has changed. He’s come to realize that history isn’t just about the celebrities of each era, but about the actions of millions and millions of everyday people. It’s their actions and decisions that have sustained the forward movement of history throughout the ages.
When Nazis forced the Jews into Polish ghettos during World War II, Irena came into contact with many Jews due to her occupation as a social worker.
Despite the overwhelming pressure of her political environment, Sendler soon joined Żegota, the Council to Aid Jews, and began to use her job as a cover to smuggle Jewish orphans to safety. After they got out of the ghetto, Sendler would arrange for the orphans to stay with other families or in convents.
Eventually, as the living situation in the ghetto deteriorated and more and more Jews were sent off to camps, Sendler and her associates began smuggling out children from Jewish families as well. She would keep track of each child’s true identity before forging them false ones, burying all the records in a jar so that the parents could reunite with their children one day.