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10 Stories of Life Sacrifices that Are Truly Sentimental

6. During the Second World War, American lieutenant John R. Fox realized his position had been overrun by the enemy troops. He sacrificed his life by calling in an artillery barrage on his position. The US Army counterattacked the same day, and they found Fox’s body beside 100 German soldiers.

John R Fox
John R Fox (Image to the left), Right Image is used for representational purposes only. Image credits: 366th via Wikimedia, Shutterstock

On 26 December 1944, Fox found himself in a completely hopeless situation in a house in Sommocolonia, an Italian village. He yelled over the radio, “Fire it! There’s more of them than there are of us. Give them Hell!”

Fox was a part of the 92nd Infantry Division and the front observer of the 598th Artillery Battalion. His crew was guarding the Italian city, but the Germans overwhelmed it on Christmas Day without any warning. The heavy artillery attacks from the Nazis forced the US troops to withdraw, but unfortunately, Fox couldn’t make it.

Fox didn’t hesitate to call for a counterattack from retreated US soldiers. He urged them to start firing back even if it was likely to crush his observation party.

This act killed 100 Germans, slowed down the Nazi offense, and the men got some time to re-group. Later, the US recaptured Sommocolonia village.

Fox was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross on 15 May 1982. The award was upgraded to Medal of Honor on 13 January 1997. (Source)

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7. Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt, an American businessman, sacrificed himself when the RMS Lusitania sank in 1915. He knew that he couldn’t swim, and there were not enough lifeboats available at the time. Still, he gave his lifejacket to a young mother and her baby. Vanderbilt’s body was never recovered.

Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt
Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt (Image to the left), Painting depicting the 1915 sinking of the Lusitania by the German U-Boat U 20. Image credits: Wikimedia, German Federal Archives via Wikimedia.

On 7 May 1915, Vanderbilt was off to Britain with his valet, Ronald Denyer. They were on for a meeting with the International Horse Breeders’ Association.

A German u-boat fired a torpedo that hit the Lusitania and led to her sinking. The ship was 12 miles off the Old Head of Kinsale, County Cork.

The filthy rich businessman and his valet helped others to safely evacuate the ship, especially children. Vanderbilt didn’t make any move to save himself and was last seen when he received a lifebelt by a cabin passenger. He was lost after that and his body was never found. When his wife refused to believe that Vanderbilt was dead, they even offered $5,000 for the recovery of his body.

People have critically pointed out the contrast between the playboy lifestyle of Vanderbilt and his selfless act in 1915. (1, 2)

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8. Rick Rescorla sacrificed his life to save 2,687 employees during the 9 Sep 2001 attacks in the USA. Rescorla was the head of the security for Morgan Stanley in the South Tower of the World Trade Center. Rescorla directed the people down the stairs by shouting through bullhorns and encouraging them by singing Cornish songs. He let everyone evacuate the building and stayed behind and was killed when the building was attacked.

Rick Rescorla
Rick Rescorla (Image to the left), Morgan Stanley Headquarters. Image credits: latimesblogs via Wikimedia, Ajay Suresh/Morgan Stanley Headquarters via Wikimedia

Since the 1993 terrorist attack, Rescorla had a hunch that the World Trade Center was a vulnerable target for terrorists.

It happened again, the World Trade Center was attacked on 9 September 2001. On 11 after the first plane hit the North Tower, the Port Authorities ordered everyone in the South Tower to stay at their desk.

Rescorla was afraid that the decision was flawed and instead called for an immediate evacuation. While his employees were on the run, he kept himself calm by singing inspirational songs.

After most of them were out of the building, Rescorla went to look for any of the employees whp were there. He looked for the remaining ones even if it cost him his life. He was last seen on the 10th floor of the South Tower.

There is a six-foot-high memorial to the 9 September hero standing in New York, his hometown. (1, 2)

9. Miki Endo lost her life while warning people of the incoming tsunami of Tohono in 2011. Thousands of lives were saved because of her warning on the Emergency Broadcast System. The girl didn’t leave her spot and kept on broadcasting until she was carried away by the tsunami.

Miki Endo
Miki Endo (Image to the left), Tsunami Japan. Image credits: Reddit, Shutterstock

Miki Endo was with her companion, Takeshi Miura, when the tsunami hit Japan’s Tohoku coast in March 2011. The two girls were sending out messages for people to run to higher floors through the town’s loudspeakers.

They kept working as radio operators from the second floor until the tsunami struck them.

The Minamisanriku Prefecture lost 1,206 of its 17,000 residents because of the 16-meter-high waves in just 30 minutes. The numbers could have been increased by thousands if Endo and Miura had not offered their sacrifice. These deadly waves were the results of a 9.0 magnitude earthquake in the seabed 130 kilometers away from Japan’s coastline.

The overall death toll went as high as 15,880 during the 2011 Japan tsunami and 2,694 missing.

Like Endo and Miura, 254 firefighters, 30 policemen, and other volunteers were never seen again and were assumed dead. (Source)

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10. Captain Oates was an Antarctic explorer who died in 1912 during the Terra Nova Expedition. He was suffering from ill-health, so he went into a blizzard away from his tent. He committed suicide because he knew that he would hinder the chances of survival of his three companions.

Captain Oates
Captain Oates (Image to the left), Image is used for representational purposes only. Image credits: Sotheby’s, Shutterstock

Oates was a part of the unfortunate Terra Nova Expedition to the South Pole between 1910 and 1913. A total of 15 men started the mission from Wales on 15 June 1910 and reached Rose Island on 4 January 1911.

The aftermath of the journey saw most of them returning back to the base camp, leaving only five of them to try to complete the trip to the pole. The five persisted and made it to the pole on 17 January 1912.

The weather was against the crew during the return trip. Edgar Evans died first. Meanwhile, Oates found himself severely ill and weak so he suggested others leave him behind.

On 15 March, he asked them to abandon him in a sleeping bag, but his mates rejected the idea.

The next morning he woke up and casually said “I’m just going outside and will be back soon.” He disappeared into a blizzard and was never found again.

Robert Scott’s notes mentioned that Oates indeed was a terrible hindrance to others. Sadly, the suicide made no difference because the remaining Scott, Wilson, and Bowers also died shortly after that. (Source)

Also read: 10 of the Noteworthy Firsts Throughout History

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