Hacksaw Ridge and Desmond Doss

A must see movie – Hacksaw Ridge is based on a true story directed by Mel Gibson. The film garnered a 10-minute standing ovation when first released at a film festival in Venice. The main character of Hacksaw Ridge – Private Desmond Doss (played by Andrew Garfield), an Army medic in WWII, is a Seventh-day Adventist conscientious objector (one who claims the right to refuse to perform military service on 7th day) who is willing to serve in the Army without taking up a gun and this is why the movie is a must watch!

Serve humanity…your way

He had a profound religious belief in saving human life than taking it. Still he enlisted in the army as others were sacrificing their lives for the nation. And we all know the story of Robin Hood too right? He was also serving the humanity…his way.

Doss believed he could go into the army and take care of the wounded soldiers even in the middle of battle and without rifle. Doss saved the lives of 75 American soldiers (and some Japanese) at the top of a ridge overlooking the Pacific during the Battle of Okinawa, the bloodiest in WWII, without carrying a rifle into battle as per his faith. This gallantry earned him a Medal of Honor, America’s highest military honor.

Be leader…by example

Doss said, “I can’t stay here while all the other people are fighting for me.” His fellow soldiers could not trust him to save them without rifle. He had an opportunity to descend Hacksaw Ridge when Americans back off, but he remains there searching for men wounded and still alive from the Battle. One by one, he would bring them to the edge of Hacksaw Ridge and push them lower on the ground with the help of ropes. He leads the battle above his leaders.

Not only Doss, in one scene a wounded medic tells Doss to give the plasma to another soldier sacrificing his life as he didn’t receive the plasma. He sacrificed so another man could live. You lead by example.

Break the rules when needed:

Desmond was Seventh-day Adventist conscientious objector and according to him it was wrong to work on the Sabbath. Yet he broke the rule when his team needed him. Rules are there for a reason, if reasons are changed then there will be time when we will need to break the rules. Be willing to be flexible and break the rules.

Never give up

His fellow soldiers beat him for not picking up the gun, his seniors bullied him to quit, he is put up in a military jail, and even faced court martial. Still Doss made no complaints about all this but stick to his decision not to pick up rifle. Smitty Ryker, one of his fellow soldier said “Why won’t you quit?” This showed his intensity of pushing through the tough time.

Above all, we should have faith and respect towards our military so they can get the care they need.


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