Wednesday, December 7, 2016

There are Heroes Everywhere There really are heroes everywhere, and, each one of us, in our own way, is a hero. Yet, if that is not your belief, and you are looking for heroes, you need look no further than the movies. Currently, there is a movie playing called Hacksaw Ridge. It is a true story about a soldier, Desmond Doss, a pacifist, who personally and under heavy gunfire saved numerous lives. Many of these folks were cruel to him. I would call this movie, Redemption, except I think that name was already used. Doss was a Seventh Day Adventist from Lynchburg, Virginia, who wanted to serve his country as a medic. As a religious person, Doss had strong beliefs about killing. He did not want to do it. In his words, “in the midst of so much being torn apart, what’s wrong with wanting to help patch some of the pieces back together.” Throughout the film, Doss is judged a coward and bullied, threatened, beaten up, and thrown in jail for defying an order to carry a gun. At one point he is arrested for insubordination and put on trial so he could be disposed of and discharged from the Army. In a dramatic moment, his estranged father barges into the courtroom with a letter from his (the father’s) former commanding officer stating that his son’s refusal to carry a firearm is protected by the US Constitution. Needless to say, Desmond Doss stayed in the Army and instead of a gun, carried a medic’s bag when his unit went into battle at Hacksaw Ridge in Okanawa. Because of his bravery and refusal to relinquish to fear, he did not leave when his unit was ordered to pull back. Doss stayed and located dozens of wounded men that he ministered to and then single handedly lowered on ropes over the ridge to safety. They were saved because of his determination to live his faith. This is a powerful story about love, compassion, bravery and dedication to higher values. Throughout Doss is alone in his beliefs in non-violence. Yet he never relinquishes them regardless of the harsh treatment administered by others. This is a film for today. In the world’s transformation from the harsh aggressive values of the past, to the current shift to heart-felt principles of compassion, forgiveness, kindness, and love, it is a story for each of us. The question is who do you identify with in this story? Doss, who refused to relinquish his values; those who judged him without asking him why; his commanding officer who believes everyone must follow a certain code; or the ones who enjoin him to give up the fight? In the end, Doss saved 75 soldiers He kept saying to God, “One more please.” And he would find another wounded soldier and minister to him before lowering him to the ground below the ridge. His own wounds were so severe he was unable to hold a job after the war. In the end, Doss's bravery was honored. He was the first Conscientious Objector to be awarded the Medal of Honor. I am hoping this movie sets a tone for the holidays and for our nation as we move into a new cycle of leadership. Jean Walters 314 991 8439 office 314 566 5231 cell

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