‘Hacksaw Ridge’ Real-Life Hero Desmond Doss Receives PETA Award

Published by Michelle Kretzer.

The gripping WWII drama Hacksaw Ridge tells the extraordinary true story of American Army medic Desmond T. Doss, who saved the lives of 75 men during the war’s bloodiest battle, the Battle of Okinawa, without firing a single shot or even carrying a gun. Doss is the first conscientious objector ever to be awarded the Medal of Honor. And now, on his birthday, he’s being honored by PETA with a posthumous Hero to Animals Award for including animals in his legendary views on nonviolence by embracing a vegetarian diet.

PETA Senior Vice President Dan Mathews presented the award today at the Desmond T. Doss Christian Academy in front of the entire student body. Principal Stephen Doss gratefully accepted it in the school namesake’s honor. Before departing, Mathews joined the school children to sing “Happy Birthday” to Doss.

Photo by Jason Witt

Oscar-nominated Hacksaw Ridge also celebrates Doss’ compassion for animals. Played by Andrew Garfield, he’s shown hunkering down in a foxhole when his fellow soldier offers to share his food. He kindly declines, saying that he’s a vegetarian.

Doss goes on to rescue dozens of soldiers from behind enemy lines, surviving multiple sniper hits and a grenade. And, of course, animal advocates know that he saved the lives of thousands of animals as well.

© Mark Rogers
Andrew Garfield as Desmond Doss in “Hacksaw Ridge.”

Desmond Doss receives Medal of Honor from President Truman

A PETA supporter also visited Doss’ grave in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and placed an arrangement of flowers there in tribute.

A PETA supporter leaves flowers at Desmond Doss’s grave.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind