Welcome to Valor Life. Thank you for joining me as we introduce what will be a regular feature. It is a profile of a person who exhibits traits of character that can be found in the concept of valor.
I’m standing in the National Cemetery in Chattanooga, TN. Around us are the final resting places of many men and women who have fought for our country. We are grateful for every one of them and for their sacrifice for us and for our freedom.
It would be easy on these hallowed grounds to think of death. But the souls represented here deserve more from us than that. Besides, dying for a cause does not necessarily display valor. Rather, it is the things you do and the motivation for doing it that determines valor. It is not what happens to us when we do right. We will get into definitions later on ValorLife.org.
Today, I want to introduce you to a man who has been a hero to me for more than fifty years. His name was Desmond T. Doss. Private First Class Doss was a very unlikely hero.
Chances are, you know some things about him already. Part of his story was told in the 2016 feature film, Hacksaw Ridge.
What attracted me to him was that Private Doss was not a big man. His small stature never kept him from standing for right. His character was built by belief in God and the value of the life of every person. He refused to carry a weapon into battles on Guam, and the Philippines. Among other acts of bravery, his Medal of Honor Citation says:
“As our troops gained the [400 ft high] summit, a heavy concentration of artillery, mortar and machinegun fire crashed into them, inflicting approximately 75 casualties and driving the others back. Private First Class Doss refused to seek cover and remained in the fire-swept area with the many stricken, carrying them one by one to the edge of the escarpment and there lowering them on a rope-supported litter down the face of a cliff to friendly hands.”
Doss suffered a great deal of bullying and persecution over his beliefs, but that didn’t keep him from saving the lives of some of the very people who harassed him. His goal was not to be a hero. After each man he saved, Private Doss prayed, “Lord, help me get just one more.” He firmly believed the power of God saved those men and not his own strength.
It was my great privilege to meet Desmond Doss in 2004. It was an honor to see a man who God may very well call “a mighty man of valor.” His demeanor was quiet, but his message clear. Lean not on ourselves, but on God. That is part of what makes men and women of valor.
Do people ever make fun of you because of what you look like or what you do or believe? Stand strong and continue to put yourself in the hands of God. He is ready to use you in everything you do. And if you allow Him to, He will build valor in you. It is likely He has already begun.
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