Saturday, February 11, 2017
“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what. - Atticus Finch” ― Harper Lee, in “To Kill a Mockingbird”
Really too sick to write, but I couldn’t go three days without a blog. The doctor had to rush here in the middle of the night, and I am waiting for him to return any minute. In the meantime, in spite of my medical problems (the kind only old men have, painful and sometimes potentially fatal), I wanted to relate the true story of Desmond Doss, a Seventh Day Adventist, who is one of my heroes from World War II. His religion forbade him from carrying a gun or threatening another human life, which was very inconvenient when he was drafted into the Second World War, but he believed he must serve his country and wanted to do it as a medic. So Doss was a conscientious objector, placed as a non-combatant, and was the target of ridicule from the other soldiers. He was serving as a field medic in Okinawa when the Japanese attacked his unit on top of a cliff, cutting down nearly every man. Doss quickly rigged up a stretcher that could be lowered by a series of ropes and pulleys to the ground below. Then, by himself and under fire, he retrieved each soldier in his unit one at a time and lowered them to safety. President Truman said it was 75 men that Doss pulled to safety when he presented him the Congressional Medal of Honor, the highest military decoration for bravery that exists, and that was only one instance of astonishing bravery and self-sacrifice Doss displayed throughout his military service. He was quite a man and if you want to see a remarkable (though not for children) example of his amazing faithfulness to his church and his God, you can see it in the Academy Award nominated film, “Hacksaw Ridge.” Parts are hard to watch, but the overall impact of his faith, bravery, and perseverance will be with you for a long, long time. I knew his story decades before the film came out and was surprised to see it—especially as an Academy Award nominee. You can Google his whole story or watch the film or both. There are people whose faith and church mean more to them than humiliation or death. I don’t know if I am one of those as I have not been tested yet. I pray I can be as brave.