"And this is why Chiyono Terada, powerful business woman who has turned to philanthropy in recent years and opened many childcare centres across Japan, is my inspirational historic figure," Misha finishes with relief. She is glad that Shizune insisted she practice her pronunciations, where does~ she get those fancy words from?
Shizune looks for signs of how her presentation has been received by her audience. She is disappointed that their claps look polite and restrained, only Naomi and Natsume seem inspired while the rest are barely awake. She had been excited when Mr Yoshimi announced this assignment, keen to share her admiration for Ms Terada, but excitement turned to dismay when she saw that her slot had been scheduled in the middle of the class, too late to capitalise on her classmates' initial enthusiasm and too early to benefit from them catching their second wind.
Misha's touch on her arm jolts Shizune out of contemplating a lost opportunity and she walks back to her seat while Yoshimi ushers Molly to the font of the classroom.
"In 1931, Douglas Robert Steuart Bader had both legs amputated after crashing the plane he was flying. He had been practicing aerobatics for an upcoming display with other members of his squadron in the British Royal Air Force. Despite nearly losing his life, he fought back to health and re-learnt how to do things he enjoyed like play golf, drive and fly. He was also very
keen to start dancing again so he could take his crush on a date!" Molly pauses to let the giggles and occasional "d'awww" subside.
"Despite making a full recovery he was discharged from the RAF in 1933 and had to face life as a civilian. Although he threw all his efforts into new his job and was successful, he missed military life and was so persistent in his efforts to rejoin the RAF that the authorities let him return at the start of the war in 1939."
"Bader saw active duty until 1941 when he was shot down and captured in France. Even though he was a double amputee, he caused his captors so many problems with his constant escape attempts that he was eventually sent to Colditz Castle, where he stayed until the end of the war."
"But he is not my inspirational historic figure because of his war record and certainly not for his personality! He was said to be very rude and held old-fashioned and, according to some, even racist views. After the war he became a tireless advocate for disabled people, not only raising money and fighting with politicians but also making frequent hospital visits to demonstrate that losing limbs does not mean you have lost your chance to have a good life. In 1976 he was awarded the British equivalent of the Order of the Rising Sun, third class, for services to disabled people."
"During my r-recovery," Molly blinks back the tears in her eyes, "my father would often remind me of Bader's words and I took them to heart. I try to live by them to this day."
Group Captain Sir Douglas Bader wrote:"Don't listen to anyone who tells you that you can't do this or that. That's nonsense. Make up your mind, you'll never use crutches or a stick, then have a go at everything. Go to school, join in all the games you can. Go anywhere you want to. But never, never let them persuade you that things are too difficult or impossible."