Thursday, January 7, 2010

Desmond Doss - "I couldn't picture Christ with a rifle killing people."

During New Year's break, Keith watched a movie about Desmond Doss...The Conscientious Objector. It is the true story of Desmond Doss, a World War II veteran who joined the army to serve his country, yet refused to carry a gun or harm the enemy. He did not believe in killing...simply stated...

"I couldn't picture Christ with a rifle killing people."

Wikipedia says:

Desmond Doss refused to kill, or carry a weapon into combat, because of his personal beliefs as a Seventh-day Adventist. He thus became a medic, and by serving in the Pacific theatre of World War II helped his country by saving the lives of his comrades, while also adhering to his religious convictions.

He was tormented by his fellow soldiers, mocked and ridiculed for refusing to carry a gun. Yet he stuck to his beliefs and showed a selfless, christlike attitude toward those who tormented him.

In an article in the Advent News Network the producer of the documentary, Terry Benedict, talks about the profound effect Desmond Doss had on reconnecting him with his faith:

"You think you're living the good Christian life, walking in faith, but when I started the project, I learned what it really meant to walk in faith," Benedict said. Doss, the filmmaker added, "is always at peace and I've learned how to be at peace when everything is breaking out around you. There was no way I couldn't be affected [by Doss' story] and not be a better person."

And when President Roosevelt presented Doss with the medal of honor he said:

“I am proud of you. You really deserve this. I consider this a greater honor than being President.”

Doss was the first conscientious objectors to be awarded the Medal of Honor. (There has been one other conscientious objector awarded the medal of honor.....Thomas Bennet, from the Vietnam War) Doss single handedly...amidst whizzing bullets from the Japanese, lowered seventy five wounded soldiers to safety using a rope he rigged with two loops. He put the legs of the wounded in the loops, wrapped them up in the rope and lowered them down. Most of the men had to be dragged to the escarpment's edge. Doss weighed about 150 lbs. He prayed the entire time...

"Lord, help me get one more. Just ONE more."

After the last man was evacuated, Doss himself made his way to safety. His commanding officer determined that Doss had lowered one hundred men down the cliff....but Doss thought it was probably closer to they compromised on seventy five.

One of the articles I read mentioned that once Doss tried to tend to a wounded Japanese soldier. One of the American soldiers with Doss told him that if helped the enemy he would have to kill him. I imagine that Doss' heart was so filled with the love and compassion of Jesus, it didn't matter to him whether the wounded soldier was Japanese or American. He saw a brother in need of help.

What a great story...a true story...of faith and courage. To read more about Doss check out the article HERE and HERE.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Truman gave Doss the Medal of Honor. Roosevelt was dead at the time so he could not have said the quote above.