One Reason Why The Greatest Generation Label Makes Sense


Donkey Cons notes the Calhoun (Ga.) Times' obit for a truly inspiring World War II hero, Desmond Doss:

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 fellow, no matter how great the danger. On one occasion in Okinawa, he refused to take cover from enemy fire as he rescued approximately 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.

When Doss received the Medal of Honor from President Truman, the President told him, "I'm proud of you, you really deserve this. I consider this a greater honor than being President."

Here's the twist: Doss was "raised a Seventh-day Adventist…[and] 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. During World War II, instead of accepting a deferment, Doss voluntarily joined the Army as a conscientious objector. Assigned to the 307th Infantry Division as a company medic he was harassed and ridiculed for his beliefs, yet he served with distinction."

In fact, he's the only CO to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. Whole piece here.

Update: Ashley Doherty writes to point out that at least one other CO received the Medal of Honor. Read Vietnam medic Tom Bennett's story here.