In Russia, every schoolchild knows the name of Aleksey Maresyev. The legendary World War II fighter pilot’s heroic story was retold in a 1948 book, ‘The Story of a Real Man.’ After his plane was shot down by Nazi gunfire, he survived in the Russian wilderness for 18 days with broken legs and found his way to safety. Despite losing both legs in hospital, he still convinced doctors and military commanders that he should continue to fly. His example helped many who might otherwise have given up, and some disabled pilots say it inspired them to survive and continue with their careers.

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