Bernie and I are finally signed up for Netflix. We just completed our first free month of watching the DVD’s that are delivered to our home. As soon as we watch one we mail it back and are mailed another. It works as slick as snot and the selection process on line is actually pretty easy. We love it. I made all of the first selections. Bernie wasn’t enthused about the documentary on Ralph Nader and he proceeded to show me just how enthused he was by falling asleep in the first fifteen minutes. I liked it. I like radicals.
But Ralph can’t hold a candle to Desmond Doss. We watched the story of this incredible man last night. Desmond was the first conscientious objector to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor. After the attack at Pearl Harbor, he joined the army to serve his country but refused to pick up a gun. Needless to say, he was ridiculed by his superiors and his fellow soldiers while in training. A faithful Seventh Day Adventist, he refused to work on the Sabbath. He would get permission to leave on Friday night, attend a church in a nearby town, and spend the day resting and reading his bible. He willingly accepted the double duty handed to him the day after. He wanted to serve as a medic, but even medics were expected to carry weapons.
His company ended up in Okinawa, Japan. Terry Benedict, who interviewed Doss and several of the men who served with him, brought them back to Okinawa to revisit the battlefield there. His comrades reported that as soldiers were hit by enemy fire, Doss would go into the battle field and pull them out, one at a time, saving 75 men. One member of the Japanese army said he had Doss in his sights several times but every time his gun would jam. Even in the middle of the war, Doss continued to read the bible and pray and would not enter the battle field on the Sabbath. His fellow soldiers came to depend on his prayers for their safety.
Doss told Benedict that he did not like the term “Conscientious Objector”. He preferred to be known as the “Conscientious Cooperator”. Terry Benedict said toward the end of the story, said that his life was changed after getting to know Desmond Doss. I think I will have to add Desmond to my list of personal heroes along with Peace Pilgrim, Gandhi, and St. Frances.
The name of the movie is “The Conscientious Objector”. It has a quality like the work of Ken Burns. If you are looking for inspiration, check it out.