A few days ago, I had the opportunity to learn about the life of a man I had never heard of before. I’m ashamed to admit I didn’t know of such a legend but I do now. I decided to share his story because it is profound.
Desmond Doss grew up with his parents and siblings and was raised as a seventh day Adventist. That meant he was raised to worship on Saturday, eat nothing that had blood in it like beef, fish, chicken. His mother also personally ensured he was groomed as a nonviolent young man.
Before the outbreak of World War II, Doss was employed as a joiner at a shipyard in Newport News, Virginia. Doss entered military service, despite being offered a deferment for his shipyard work.
While training, Doss refused to hold a weapon or train with ammunitions. This was so strange but Doss held firmly to his beliefs and faced the oppositions head-on.
I actually watched the movie, Hacksaw Ridge and Desmond’s struggles were so highlighted, I felt every bit of pain he did. The most beautiful thing about Desmond’s life is that he never retaliated or cast blame. He simply always spoke a kind word and floored everyone with so much love.
Upon Desmond’s refusal to hold a weapon and his insistence to serve in the army, he was assigned the position of a medic which was what he initially wanted to do.
During the face-off with the Japanese, Desmond’s division fell brutally into the hands of the enemy. The soldiers that survived escaped down Hacksaw Ridge. Desmond was despondent but he decided to stay back on the ridge. He single handedly rescued about seventy five to hundred men while trying to escape enemy fire.
Doss went down Hacksaw Ridge a true war hero. A few days later, Desmond’s commander asked him if he would be willing to go up the ridge again. The soldiers saw his bravery and they wanted a slice of it but they were unwilling to go up the ridge without him.
The Japanese surrendered to the US Army that fateful day after Doss tossed with his hand and foot the grenade that the Japanese had deceitfully thrown at them.
I was blown away by the intensity of Desmond’s determination to stand up for everything he believed in. More than that, I was floored by his depth of love and sacrifice. Only a love so big can overcome such great opposition and contention. It’s a lesson we all have to learn.
There will be obstacles as long as we live. Your Hacksaw Ridge could be anything at all but your ability to stand up for the things you believe in and your depth of love and sacrifice will determine how far you go.