This past weekend my husband & I sat down to watch the documentary film “The Conscientious Objector.” It was so outstanding, we made my entire family watch it at a family gathering yesterday. Here is a little unknown part of American history for you.
Desmond Doss was the FIRST Conscientious Objector in American History who has won America’s highest honor She can possibly bestow; the Congressional Medal of Honor (the other one to receive the Medal of Honor was Tom Bennett during Vietnam).
When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Desmond Doss wanted to serve his country and his freedoms; there was only one slight problem. He did not want to kill because he did not believe in killing. He is a devout Seventh Day Adventist who took the Lord’s Commandment “Thou Shalt Not Kill” seriously. He refused to hold a gun. But he wanted to honor and save life so he joined specifically as a medic, but unlike other medics, he refused to carry a gun. You can imagine what type of abuse he experienced for his belief amongst his Army comrades. His Army Officers were absolutely outraged that Desmond refused to hold a gun and that Desmond would worship on Saturday no matter what. His Officers even tried to kick Desmond out because they felt he was a complete waste of their time and energy since he refused to carry a weapon. As one man said, “I don’t want you at my side if you don’t carry a damn gun!” Desmond prevailed and was allowed to stay in and serve as a Medic Without Arms.
His Infantry unit was shipped out to the Pacific to fight the Japanese. Desmond soon became beloved by the same men who tried to kick him out because he would save their lives under the craziest, most dangerous circumstances War can possibly make. Under heavy fire and at night, the worst time to go out, Desmond would crawl around healing those wounded, even “the enemy.”
THE incident, though, that earned him the Medal of Honor, was in a particular vicious battle in Okinawa where the Americans were routed. 50 Americans retreated, and the other 75 men were on top of a mountain injured and dying. Under heavy fire so thick it would cut canteens and men in half, Desmond Doss for the next 12 hours saved all 75 of his men. He carried every single one of them and lowered them 70 feet off the mountain. He was not injured at all. One Japanese soldier reported that every single time he tried to kill Doss his gun would jam. This man’s Faith was so strong, the Lord protected him.
He is a beautiful human being and this movie is well worth your time and energy. There are many other stories his men tell, as they recount his heroic. One more story to close:
Desmond was severely injured. As he was being carried off the field, he saw an injured unconscious soldier. Desmond rolled off his stretcher and commanded his men to carry off the other soldier. As Doss put his arm around the other soldier’s neck to give support, a bullet slammed into his arm, shattering it, but saving the other man’s life. In the mayhem, Desmond realized later, he had lost his lifeline–his little pocket Bible that had sustained him through all of his trials. When Company B learned he had lost his Bible, under heavy enemy fire, they searched and searched the ground until they found Desmond Doss’ Bible so that they could return it to him.
This movie, 1 hour and 20 minutes, will inspire and challenge you. Imagine what can happen when we choose to obey God’s Commandments!