Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day: Desmond Doss

Here's a real hero to remember this Memorial Day: A true Christian patriot, Desmond Doss.

I had the honor of writing about Mr. Doss when I lived in Georgia, and when he died about two months ago, I was again honored to write his obituary for The Washington Times. (In case of server meltdown, try this link.)

For more background on the amazing story of Desmond Doss, from Home of Heroes. (h/t: Depravity):
Doss was always praying ... or reading his Bible. From the first day of training everyone could tell he was different. A devout Seventh-Day Adventist, the first night Doss knelt beside his bunk in the barracks, oblivious to the taunts around him and the boots they threw his way, to spend his time talking to God. Regularly he pulled the small Bible his new wife had given him for a wedding gift, and read it as well. Among the men of the unit, disdain turned to resentment. Doss refused to train or work on Saturday, the Lord's Sabbath.
Though he felt no reservation about caring for the medical needs of the men or otherwise helping them on the Sabbath, he refused to violate it. The fact that he worked overtime to make up for it the rest of the week made little difference. Doss was teased, harassed, and ridiculed. ...

So what do you do with a soldier who won't train on Saturday, eat meat, or carry a gun or bayonet? Doss' commanding officer knew what to do. Paperwork was initiated to declare him unstable, a misfit, and wash him out of military service with a Section-8 discharge as "unsuitable for military service." But Doss wanted to serve his country, he just refused to kill.
His pacifist beliefs and his incredible courage under fire made Doss perhaps unique in the annals of military heroism. But now here's something really sad:
The Medal of Honor Society reports that there are 113 living recipients of the nation's highest military award, but an FBI agent said impostors outnumber the true heroes.

"There are more and more of these impostors, and they are literally stealing the valor and acts of valor of the real guys," said Tom Cottone, who tracks such pretenders in addition to his work on an FBI violent crime squad in West Paterson, N.J.

"There are guys out there wearing the Medal of Honor who didn't earn it," he said. ...

Frances Doss, whose husband Desmond T. Doss Sr. was the only conscientious objector to receive the Medal of Honor in World War II, said it's hard to imagine why someone would wear a fake medal. Her husband died in March and was buried in Chattanooga.

"I guess they want attention so much they are willing to take a chance nobody will find out," she said.

Linked by Joe at NovaTownhall.

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