East Hamilton High School Students Learn About War Hero Desmond Doss

By now you know that Mel Gibson has made a movie about Desmond Doss, a local war hero, who won the medal of honor even though he was a conscious objector.

The movie is “Hacksaw Ridge” and one of the producers is a Chattanooga man, who spoke to a high school class Thursday morning.

Sixteen years ago Chattanooga filmmaker and producer Terry Benedict started a documentary about the life of Medal of Honor winner Desmond Doss. It took 3 years to finish, and the one hour and 40 minute film eventually led to the movie Hacksaw Ridge now in theaters across the country.

Benedict became a close friend of Doss..and he shared some of those experiences with students in Alex Ford’s film and theater class at East Hamilton high school.

TERRY BENEDICT, WRITER-PRODUCER  “I thought Mel did a very good job in threading the needle of the graphic, horrific, violent nature of war with Desmond’s heroics as a medic in cleaning up the carnage of war. “

The class watched and responded to Benedict’s documentary.

PRESSLEY WILSON,  JUNIOR  “We don’t talk about war and it was a story that I had never heard before and he did a really thorough job of explaining, uh, how Desmond felt and how he felt …really portrayed the story.”

DONOVAN HOLLOWAY, SENIOR “It was great to see somebody successful and hear how he does what he does and it was just the fact how emotional he was behind it.”

ALEX FORD, FILM & THEATER TEACHER IN:01:45:30 “Just the fact that he knows Desmond Doss so much..the fact that he did life with him for almost a decade,the fact that he was there when he passed away…he knows so much about him. I think its been really inspiring to the students. “

TERRY BENEDICT  “The purpose , when, un, for us as film makers, and also for Desmond, was that we wanted people coming out of the theater really self-evaluating. Being inspired, uh but also looking inwardly and saying ‘hey, maybe I could do something to serve others and stand up for what I believe.”

ALEX FORD  “I hope they can glean the fact that if they just pay attention to who they are and they stand up for what they believe in…that incredible things can happen even when other people are resisting.”

Desmond Doss spent most of his adult life on Lookout Mountain in Piedmont, Alabama following his service in World War Two.


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