A public showing of the award-winning theatrical documentary “The Conscientious Objector” will be present from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday May 21, in belated Celebration of America’s Armed Forces Day.
Ashe County resident Col. Charles Knapp, U.S. Army retired, was consulting producer during the making of the documentary, and will offer an introduction and comments.
“This film is the quintessential story of duty, honor, country,” said Knapp. “It is the dramatic real-life portrayal of what can happen to an ordinary life at the intersection of personal faith and committed patriotism.”
The film tells the compelling true story of the heroic actions of Pfc. Desmond Doss, an Army infantry medic who was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Harry Truman for saving the lives of at least 75 wounded men one day during the Battle of Okinawa.
Under withering rifle, machine gun and mortar fire, Doss treated his wounded comrades and lowered them to safety over the 75-foot Maeda Escarpment with a rope.
“The story is told by men whose lives Doss saved on that day,” Knapp said. “It is a dramatic story of courage and conviction during one of the bloodiest battles of WWII where expected survival was only 1 chance in 10.”
“The Conscientious Objector” has earned 23 film festival awards, and been shown on national television 12 times. It has been subtitled in four languages, distributed widely in Asia and Europe and is available from desmonddoss.com and from NetFlix.
Eighteen members of Ashe County’s Generation eXcellent youth choir will open the program with a musical tribute to America’s flag, the National Anthem and then pay honor to America’s Armed Forces with a medley of the service hymns of each branch of the uniformed services. Veterans in the audience will be paid special recognition.
Chair of the Desmond Doss Council, which is responsible for Doss’ life story, film and book copyrights, Knapp is also consulting producer of Hacksaw Ridge, a theatrical film based on Doss’ heroism now in preproduction by Walden Media.
“Doss was a sought-after speaker to youth groups and traveled the world,” said Knapp, who knew Doss for many years. “He would hold an audience of middle-schoolers spellbound on the normally dry topics of ethics, character development and personal faith and get a standing ovation at the end.”
“Roads, bridges, VFW halls and American Legion posts carry his name,” he said. “His likeness in bronze can be found in veteran’s parks.”
The members of the New River Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America are pleased to sponsor the showing of this documentary.