Be it saving lives or advancing human rights, the world has no shortage of heroes-people who have done amazing feats to change how we live our lives today, proving that humanity can transcend itself. Unfortunately, not all heroes are treated equal and many of them are unknown. Let us review the top ten unsung heroes in the course of human history.
Top 10: Robert Bartlett
Bob Barlett is a captain whose ship Karluk was trapped in the ice-which was eventually destroyed-in the Canadian Arctic Expedition. Barlett and a hunter named Kataktovik walked 700 miles-after several months of being stranded-from Wrangel Island to Siberia to seek for help. He boarded another ship from Alaska and rescued his 14 surviving companions.
Top 9: John R. Fox
John Fox was an American soldier in the Second World War He died and is considered a hero because he called for an airstrike in his own location. He knew that the enemies, particularly the Germans, were swarming all over and the only way to stop them was to have them heavy under fire. His courageous act of giving up his own life allowed the allies enough time to plan and launch a counter attack.
Top 8: Pastor Lee Jong-rak
Pastor Lee is a Christian minister in South Korea who has raised his own orphanage for babies who are mentally handicapped. What he did was to put a box outside his house where irresponsible parents can put their children instead of leaving them in the garbage or in the roadside.
Top 7: John Woolman
Long before Abraham Lincoln advocated the freedom of slaves, John Woolman, a man from 18th-century Pennsylvania, travelled for 20 years in American colonies to preach about human rights and how wrong slavery was. This resulted to the Religious Society of Friends, also called the Quakers, to abolish slavery in 1776. It took another 89 years before the whole country abolished slavery.
Top 6: Amelia Boynton
Amelia is the first African-American woman who had the courage to stand up for Civil Rights Movement. She was instrumental to the historical march of African-Americans from Selma to Montgomery in 1965. This March paved the way for the black people to be given voting rights and exercise their constitutional rights.
Top 5: Poggio Bracciolini
A man of the 15th century, Poggio is not a name you will typically hear. However, we will never have acquired the scientific skills and progress we have today if not for him. It was Poggio who translated an old text called On the Nature of Things and made it possible for the modern world to pass on and study this knowledge further. This text contained the radical ideas that matter is made of moving objects, which we now know as particles and atoms.
Top 4: Mary Anning
It is this woman who taught the world to respect animals and preserve their lives. She was 12 years old when she made a discovery of a dinosaur fossil. In her generation, people never believed that animals can be extinct. It was her persistence in this phenomenon that changed how the world looks at paleontology today because her work ignited the passion of scientists of the modern world to shift their mindset about prehistoric life and how extinct animals have shaped the world today.
Top 3: Benjamin Keefe Clark
A hero of the 9/11 terrorist attack in the US, Benjamin was a chef who helped his department team members to get out during the attack. Instead of going out, he helped a disabled woman at the 78th floor and perished. He could have gotten out with the rest of the people and saved himself but he didn’t.
Top 2: Senior Master Sgt. Doug Widener
This is a man who has earned one of the most prestigious medals in American Military-the Distinguished Flying Cross. He flew 25 missions in Afghanistan during which he and two other military para-rescue men rescued 19 wounded soldiers. They showed the courage to infiltrate and ex-filtrate the soldiers from treacherous and dangerous terrains in a terrorist haven under heavy fire.
Top 1: John Rabe
Ever heard this name? John Rabe is a German businessman in World War II who happened to be in China during the war. He decided to stay in China along with a few foreigners and established a Safe Zone in Nanking. Without Rabe’s help, more than 200, 000 Chinese people would have died by the onslaught of the Japanese Army. But since he was an influential German, he stood his ground and prevented the Japanese form attacking the Nanking Safety Zone