This is an article that I posted on a blog that’s now inactive. I also shared this with my Mindanao Gold Star Daily readers back in January this year. This feature carries a timely message: the importance of faith. Faith that we need, especially now, when we’re facing an invisible enemy.

A lot of people nowadays (myself included) are vulnerable to depression and anxiety. Also, since technology plays a prominent role in our society, some people find validation of their self-worth from the wrong places; the wrong sources. Hacksaw Ridge is a movie that has a message that will resonate with anybody – from the young ones to the more mature and older generation, from the confident to the shy and confused individuals.

Hacksaw Ridge is one of those movies that you won’t forget for a long time. It’s the kind of movie that stays with you as you grow old. It’s the kind of movie that leaves you awe-inspired. Hacksaw Ridge will inspire you to look at life – your life, most especially – in a more positive way.

A masterpiece directed by Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge tells the story of pacifist Desmond Doss (played superbly by Andrew Garfield), a member of the 77th Infantry Division that saw action during the Battle of Okinawa. Doss grew up with his family – father, mother, and brother – in Virginia. He grew up absorbing all the teachings of his mother and was a devoted Seventh Day Adventist, despite the fact that his father was an alcoholic who beat his mother. An incident involving him and his brother completely changed his views about life, particularly about killing. After that incident, he vowed never to break the 6th of God’s 10 Commandments, “Thou Shall Not Kill”.

So when Doss enlists and starts training with the 77th infantry, he vowed not to hold a gun, even if his superiors wanted him to. He was training to become a medic, which, for him, was the best way to save lives and serve the country. Of course, things do not work in his favor. The entire 77th Infantry Division and his superiors interpreted his decision as a form of defiance and arrogance. He is brought to the court martial but is eventually saved. He continues training.

Soon, Doss and the rest of the team are sent to battle. They were asked to relieve the 96th Infantry Division and their main task was to secure Hacksaw Ridge. It is there where Doss proves his worth not only as a soldier, but as a person. To find out how he survives without firing a single gunshot, you have to watch the movie. It was released in 2016, so I’m sure it will be easy to find a DVD copy of the film.

Doss’ companion at the time of battle was his Holy Bible, where he kept the photo of his wife, Dorothy. His biggest weapon, however, was his faith. The kind that can move mountains and make miracles happen. This faith was what helped him endure the battle as he tried to save as many of his fellow soldiers as he could. His constant prayer was “Lord, give me one more.” Again, you have to watch the movie to understand what this means.

Desmond Doss was recognized as a hero and received The Medal of Honor from President Harry S. Truman for his bravery during the Battle of Okinawa. He saved 75 lives in that battle.

Hacksaw Ridge may not be perfect, but it is definitely well-made. It deserves all of its Oscar nominations and all the accolades it received. The best thing about it, however, does not have something to do with cinematography or the actors. The best thing about Hacksaw Ridge is its ability to hit you in the spots that matter. It will make you think about faith; your faith. Not just in God, but in everything that has meaning in your life. No kidding.

In a world that has become dependent on machines, on technology, and on other people’s perception of a person, Hacksaw Ridge is a breath of fresh air. It reminds us of the things that really matter, and the people who make life worth living. It reminds us that we have a purpose, we have a mission, and we are here because we need to fulfill that mission. 

As I walked out of Centrio Cinema 4 that night, I couldn’t help but thank the high heavens for giving me the opportunity to watch Hacksaw Ridge. It is an experience I will never forget for a long time. It is a story that will be etched forever in my heart and mind.

Directed by Oscar winner Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge stars Andrew Garfield (Doss), Teresa Palmer (Dorothy), Hugo Weaving (Tom Doss), Sam Worthington (Jack Glover), Vince Vaughn (Sgt Howell), Rachel Griffiths (Berta Doss), Nathaniel Buzolic as Harold Doss, and Luke Bracey as Smitty Ryker. Andrew Knight and Robert Schenkkan wrote the screenplay.

If you can, find time to watch Hacksaw Ridge. I’m sure it will help restore your faith – in yourself, in the people around you, in the things you do, and of course, in God. It won’t happen overnight, but at least allow the story of Desmond Doss to help you start your journey to a better you and to a better life.

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