It’s not every day that a history teacher makes history, but that’s what happened to Liubov Plaksiuk.
It’s not every day that a history teacher makes history, but that’s what happened when Liubov Plaksiuk became the first female head of the artillery unit of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Lieutenant Plaksiuk had dreamed of a military career as a girl, but was forced to abandon the idea after meeting with opposition from relatives. Instead she studied teaching and became a history teacher. She is also the mother of a 7-year-old son.
When the war in Ukraine began, she joined the armed forces, realizing her childhood goal of defending her country. And now she has made her own mark on history as the first woman to lead a Ukrainian artillery unit.
Her brave stand on behalf of her homeland calls to mind the courage that saints like Joan of Arc displayed. Heading a military unit calls for extraordinary leadership, and Plaksiuk rose to the challenge with admirable grace.
Somehow it doesn’t seem like a coincidence that she taught history. There is such a tight connection between studying history and understanding war and military strategy. Her knowledge of Ukrainian and Russian history no doubt compels her strong stand in this fight.
While admiring her leadership, we can pray for her safety and for a swift end to the war in Ukraine. As Pope Francis called for in a recent Wednesday audience:
Let us pray that the Lord will convert the hearts of those who still insist on war, and make the desire for peace prevail for martyred Ukraine, to avoid any escalation and open the way to a cease-fire and dialogue.