The back of panes carrying self-adhesive “World War II Medal of Honor” U.S. commemorative stamps released in Washington, D.C., on November 11, 2013, bear the name of a Seventh-day Adventist who received the nation’s highest military honor, but who also refused to carry a weapon.
Desmond T. Doss, Sr., was a lifelong Adventist who in World War II was credited with saving the lives of 75 wounded soldiers during a battle on Okinawa. He was the first conscientious objector to receive the Medal of Honor, presented to him by then-U.S. president Harry S. Truman in a White House ceremony. He was one of 464 people to receive the Medal of Honor during the conflict.
Doss, who died in 2006 at the age of 87, was the subject of a 2004 film, The Conscientious Objector, and his story was widely known in Adventist circles. He credits early childhood images of Jesus and the Ten Commandments with forming his resolve as an objector.
According to a U.S. Postal Service announcement: “The first side of this four-page design highlights historical photographs of the last living recipients of the Medal of Honor from World War II. One stamp features a photograph of the Navy version of the Medal of Honor. The other stamp features a photograph of the Army version of the Medal of Honor. The Air Force version was not created until 1965. The two center pages list the names of all 464 recipients of the Medal of Honor from World War II. A short piece of text and a key to the names of the recipients pictured in the cover photos are included on the second page. The remaining 18 stamps are found on the back page.”
Commemorative stamps such as the “Medal of Honor” issue are now denominated as “Forever” stamps, meaning they will always be valid to carry one ounce of first-class mail, regardless of the prevailing rate at the time of mailing. The stamps should be available at U.S. Post Office locations nationwide.