Historical Moments That Most People Wouldn't Believe If They Weren't Caught On Camera

Accidental invasions. Wives saving their husbands from certain death. Warring troops playing soccer on the battlefield. Scenes like these are often excluded from our textbooks, though that doesn't make them any less significant in shaping the world today. Though it's easy to focus only on the most earth-shattering events from history, it's the smaller moments that truly define our shared human experience. These incredible photos and stories from history prove that even in the darkest of times, the light of humanity still shone through.

1. Imminent disaster

In the wake of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, officials discovered that the No. 4 reactor's molten core and the lava-like corium it created were at serious risk of coming in contact with the bubbler pools in the building's basement. If this superheated material reached the water, it would create a massive steam explosion that would further contaminate Europe.

Suicide mission?

And so, three engineers were tasked with wading into the radioactive waters below the reactor in order to drain the pools. Though it was widely reported that the men perished shortly after completing their mission, two of the three are still alive today (the third died in 2005 from heart failure), and all were awarded the Ukrainian Order For Courage in 2018.

2. Historic attack

The only Axis soldier to bomb the contiguous United States, Nobuo Fujita dropped multiple incendiary explosives onto the forests surrounding Brookings, Oregon, on September 9, 1942. Fortunately, it had rained the night before, and the fires were quickly extinguished.

Making amends

Twenty years later, Nobuo was invited back to Brookings, where he gifted the town his family's 400-year-old katana as a show of friendship. He later sponsored three students from Brookings to study abroad in Japan, helped build the town's library, and was even made an honorary citizen of the town several days before his death in 1997.