WEST JEFFERSON — Mel Gibson’s 2016 Oscar-winning blockbuster movie, “Hacksaw Ridge,” is returning to the Parkway Theater in downtown West Jefferson by special arrangement for a three-day engagement during Veterans Day week. Admission is free, but tickets are required for each night and are available at the Ashe Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Center.
Ashe County’s Charles Knapp, special consultant to the film’s producers and instrumental in getting the movie made, in association with Lionsgate, will present the film and discuss the impact of this true story of World War II Medal of Honor recipient Desmond T. Doss. Hosts for the showings are the New River Chapter of the Military Officers Association and the Desmond Doss Foundation. Donations are encouraged. Proceeds will help fund the scholarship programs of both organizations.
There will be single showings of the film on each of three nights at 7 p.m. at the Parkway Theater, Monday, Nov. 11, Veterans Day, as well as the Tuesday, Nov. 12, and Wednesday, Nov. 13. Each showing will be followed by a short Q&A period and presentation by Knapp about an international program to equip youth influencers to be effective Character Mentors that has been fueled by the object lessons of Hacksaw Ridge.
For those who have not seen the film or are unfamiliar with the story, “Hacksaw Ridge” earned six Oscar nominations, including for best picture and best director, and won two awards. The movie earned more than 100 international film nominations and has won 50.
“Hacksaw Ridge” was selected by the American Film Institute as the No. 1 dramatic film of 2016 and is judged among the top five war films ever made. It also ranks among the top three American “faith” films. The story portrayal is true, not contrived or fictionalized, and contains no subliminal message.
Desmond T. Doss was a PFC Medical Aid Man assigned to the 307th Medical Detachment of the 77th Infantry Division during the battle for the Maeda Escarpment in Okinawa in May and June of 1945. In addition to participating in many other combat operations, on May 5, Doss remained on the escarpment battlefield after his company was overrun and forced to retreat, leaving large numbers of unattended casualties.
During a 12-hour period and through the night, he single-handedly rendered life-saving care and lowered 75 men over a 70 foot cliff to safety and medical care using only a rope sling while avoiding enemy patrols and being constantly shot at.
Doss became the first Conscientious Objector — he refused to carry a weapon — to be honored with the Congressional Medal of Honor by President Harry S. Truman. Doss, to this day, is one of America’s best-known and respected heroes. Among his peers and international youth, the most respected and inspirational soldier.