Tuesday, May 16, 2006

 

A little story of faith, of courage, and fidelity.

I just said in a previous post that I was raised a Seventh Day Adventist. I broke with the church long ago, clearly, I'm not a pacifist, or a good vegitarian. It was more than that, but having been raised in this faith, I was very familiar with this story.

United States: Adventist Doss, First Conscientious Objector to Win Medal of Honor

It is reported that Doss, a quiet, unassuming man, never liked being called a "conscientious objector," preferring "conscientious cooperator" instead. Instead of accepting a deferment from the military draft, Doss voluntarily joined the U.S. Army, but never took up arms. Assigned to the 307th Infantry, 77th Infantry Division, as a company medic he was often harassed and ridiculed for his beliefs. Raised a Seventh-day Adventist, Doss did not believe in using a gun or killing because of the sixth commandment which states, "Thou shalt not kill" (Exodus 20:13). Doss was a patriot however, and believed in serving his country. According to his Medal of Honor citation, time after time, Doss' fellow soldiers witnessed how unafraid he was for his own safety. He was always willing to go after a wounded comrade, no matter how great the danger. During the May 5, 1945, battle in Okinawa, Doss refused to take cover from enemy fire as he rescued 75 wounded soldiers, carrying them one-by-one and lowering them over the edge of the 400-foot Maeda Escarpment. He did not stop until he had brought everyone to safety nearly 12 hours later. Doss would later credit knot-tying skills learned in an Adventist youth group, the Pathfinders, with helping him accomplish the rescue.

It's an important story, especially in this day and age. When some who claim that they only serve the cause of peace in opposing this war, that they believe in nonviolence as justification for their actions, ... I think they should read this. There were several Adventist medics decorated highly in Vietnam, though they aren't mentioned here.

If you cannot kill, that doesn't mean you don't owe your country. I'm not suggesting that every protester enlist as a medic, what I'm saying is that there are ways to remain true to a belief and still support those who do fight to end a great evil.

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