Not many of us will ever be faced with having to live most of our lives in the context of being a recognized war hero. I can only imagine the unique challenges that such noteroriety brings with it as a person attempts to be a faithful steward and to live a life committed to God. Desmond T. Doss, the only Conscientious Objector to win the Medal of Honor during World War II, was such a person. It seems, from the viewpoint of those of us who knew him, that he was able to maintain a close walk with God, and to live an exemplary Christian life in spite of his heroism. He had the unique ability to balance his public life in the spotlight with the humility of his private personal life.
Because of his status in winning the nations highest honor, books have been written, a documentary produced, and a movie is in process focusing on his heroic deeds during the war. Desmond was often invited to the White House and other notable places to meet with Presidents and high ranking military officers. He was highly respected among politicians and especially among other Medal of Honor recipients. He often received standing ovations from crowds young and old in recognition of his commitment to his God and to his country.
However, even though he occasionally fraternized with those in high society, he was most comfortable with the fellowship of his friends and fellow believers in the local Adventist church on Lookout Mountain. In spite of his many war injuries, he experienced great satisfaction in working on church and school building projects. It seemed to me that some of his greatest joy was in spending time with the pathfinder youth group. He always had time to give to the young people of the church. It remained one of his highest priorities throughout his life and into his twilight years.
As Desmond was preparing to move from his home in Rising Fawn, Georgia to be closer to relatives in Alabama, I had the opportunity to spend time with him sorting through some of his personal items. We established a memorabilia room where we could set aside and save the special articles of recognition, the pictures of presidents, the plaques of accomplishments, etc. These special items were not located in a trophy room built to display all of his treasures of heroism. They were just inadvertently tacked on the wall and placed on ordinary furniture in their humble home.
Desmond T. Doss was labeled by the Military as a Conscientious Objector. He indeed was a man of conscience, but he was not objecting. He lived his life conscientiously before Almighty God. He was a faithful steward of the gifts and resources that God had entrusted to him. By the grace of God, He was able to live his life as a humble, God fearing hero.
By Mitch Hazekamp