When Russian sniper Lyudmila Pavlichenko was interviewed by Time magazine in 1942, she derided the American media.
“One reporter even criticized the length of the skirt of my uniform, saying that in America women wear shorter skirts and besides my uniform made me look fat, ” she said.
The length of skirt probably didn’t matter to the 309 Nazi soldiers Pavlichenko is credited with killing, or to the many Russians she inspired with her bravery and skill.
According to the Financial Times, Pavlichenko was born July 12, 1916, in southern Ukraine and she was a tomboy from the start. Forget playing with dolls, Pavlichenko wanted to hunt sparrows with a catapult; of course she was better at it than most of the boys her age.
When Germany declared war on Russia in 1941, Pavlichenko wanted to fight. But once she got to the front, it wasn’t as easy as she thought it would be.
“I knew my task was to shoot human beings,” she recalled in a Russian paper. “In theory that was fine, but I knew that the real thing would be completely different.” She was right.
Even though Pavlichenko could see the enemy from where she was crouched during her first day on the battlefield, she couldn’t bring herself to fire.
But that all changed when a German shot a young Russian soldier set up near Pavlichenko. “He was such a nice, happy boy,” she said. “And he was killed just next to me. After that, nothing could stop me.”
She is a true inspiration to me and one of the people that I look up to and will continue to remember because of the reason why she fought, for her country, for her family, for her friends, and for her fellow soldier.
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