Namihira offering free showing of ‘Hacksaw Ridge’

Published 9:58 am Wednesday, March 15, 2017

It was a story made famous by the Mel Gibson film “Hacksaw Ridge.”

Desmond Doss, a conscientious objector who refused to carry a rifle into combat, was ridiculed by members of his unit, became a medic and received the Medal of Honor for his efforts in saving 75 wounded soldiers during combat on the island Okinawa in World War II.

It’s a story that impressed Vicksburg physician Yoshinobu Namihira, a native of Okinawa, who wants to share the movie and a presentation on Doss with the public at his clinic, the Better Living Clinic, 3000 Halls Ferry Road. He will be showing the movie Saturday and March 25, with both showings at 6:30 p.m. There is no charge to see the film.

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The movie will be preceded by a PowerPoint presentation on Doss and his impact on the battle and history.

Namihira’s connection with Doss’ story goes back to his college days, when as a freshman he was one of a group of people who had their photograph taken in front of the Desmond Doss Memorial Chapel in Okinawa.

“I didn’t know the history and the significance and contribution (of Doss) to history,” he said.

It wasn’t until later, he said, when he learned Doss’ story and took a second look at the photo, “And then I made the connection.”

“I had heard the story, but I couldn’t understand the meaning, and then Mel Gibson made this Academy Award winning movie, and I thought, ‘There must be something.’ I realized I should be doing more present this story.”

But it was a recent request from his secretary to let her family watch the movie on the clinic’s wide screen TV, that his interest about Doss grew.

He bought a copy of the film and agreed to show the film to his staff and their families as family program.

“I showed the entire movie to my employees and their families, and it was amazing,” Namihira said. “It was a very positive response, so after I finished a meeting with my employees, I thought, ‘If it is so good, I should make available to the public.”

He began his research on Doss and the battle at Hacksaw Ridge, which is part of the Maeda escarpment on the island.

Doss, he said, “Risked his own life; he could have been killed. He went in a fierce battle; everybody thought he was no good, but when he entered the battleground and he saved 75 people.”

“He kept telling his commander, ‘Let me go, one more, one more, one more; by dragging, by carrying.’”

The film’s message, he said, is that Doss’ and others’ unselfish spirit is something people should never take for granted.

Mr. Desomond Doss is dead and gone,” Namihira said, “But he left a legacy, and we should not take it for granted.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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