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Lynchburg hero Desmond Doss set to get two historical markers

Lynchburg native Desmond Doss with President Truman. (Photo: Desmond Doss Council)

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) -- Lynchburg's own Desmond Doss is getting not one, but two historical markers. Doss was the conscientious objector who earned a Medal of Honor for his heroism in saving soldiers during World War Two. The movie Hacksaw Ridge is based on his life.

Local veterans set out with the goal of raising $1,600 for a state highway marker. They raised that in just a few days.

The money continued to come in, so now Doss is also getting an interpretive marker as well that will be placed at Monument Terrace.

The highway marker will go at the corner of Campbell Avenue and Mosby Street. Both will be unveiled in July, and the veterans even raised enough money to bring Doss's son, Desmond Doss, Junior, to town for the unveiling.

But it doesn't end there.

The veterans raised enough money for a third marker, which will honor another local hero, a man few people have heard of, Cary Langhorne. Langhorne is also a Medal of Honor winner.

Doug Harvey, with the Lynchburg Museum System, says Langhorne was a Navy surgeon.

In 1914 the Mexicans had a revolution, and ended up mistreating American Soldiers when they invaded Vera Cruz. Langhorne carried men back to safety while under fire.

Langhorne's marker is still working its way through the state approval process, but Harvey expects that one will go up in the fall.

Read the draft wording of both markers below.

Desmond Thomas Doss, Medal of Honor Recipient

Desmond T. Doss was born in Lynchburg in 1919 and grew up nearby in the Fairview Heights neighborhood. A member of the Seventh Day Adventists and a pacifist, Doss volunteered for service during WW II but refused to carry a weapon. While labeled a “conscientious objector” by the army, he considered himself a “conscientious cooperator.”

Serving as a medic with the 77th Infantry Division during the Battle of Okinawa, April - May, 1945, Pfc. Doss saved over 75 men while under intense fire. Lowering many of the men down a cliff, he was later wounded and gave up his place on a litter to another wounded soldier. Doss received the Medal of Honor from President Harry S. Truman on 12 October, 1945 and was the first non-combatant to be so honored. He died in 2006.

Cary Devall Langhorne, Medal of Honor Recipient

Cary D. Langhorne grew up here at 313 Washington St. and graduated from VMI and UVA Medical School. Enlisting in the navy, Langhorne served on the battleship U.S.S. Vermont as a surgeon. In 1914 during the Mexican Revolution, a dispute erupted over an arms shipment from Germany to Mexican rebels and the treatment of American sailors in Tampico, Mexico

President Wilson ordered an American fleet including the Vermont to seize the port of Vera Cruz and troops landed on 21 April, 1914. Fighting broke out between the troops and Mexican soldiers, naval cadets, and citizens and Langhorne went ashore to treat the wounded. Carrying a wounded man to safety under heavy fire on 22 April, Langhorne was awarded a Medal of Honor. Langhorne later became a physician in Washington, D.C. and died in 1948. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

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