March 27, 2017: Conscientious objector and World War II veteran Desmond Doss will be honored with a new state historical marker in Lynchburg, Virginia.
The city’s News & Advance newspaper reported on March 25 that the marker is a roadway sign aimed at educating the public about the connection Doss has to Lynchburg.
The Virginia Department of Historic Resources is behind the decision to honor Doss with the marker.
It will be placed close to the city’s Easley Avenue where Doss grew up.
Doss received the Congressional Medal of Honor for saving the lives of 75 fellow soldiers in the Battle of Okinawa. He did it all without holding a gun.
Doss was the subject of a 2016 cinematic release, “Hacksaw Ridge,” directed by famed Hollywood actor and director Mel Gibson.
Two other road signs with Lynchburg connections will be erected.
One is dedicated to Congolese pygmy Ota Benga who was brought to the United States and displayed at the 1904 St Louis World’s Fair.
Two years later at the Bronx Zoo he was held in a cage with an orangutan. After angered African Americans secured his release, Benga lived first at an orphanage and then later at Virginia Seminary in Lynchburg. Benga committed suicide at the age of 32.
The final new Lynchburg road marker will honor Virginia Collegiate and Industrial Institute. The school was founded in 1890 to train black teachers. It was co-founded by former slave Frank Trigg. The school burned down in 1917.
Each of the road markers were selected to educate the public about people, places and events that may not be widely associated with Lynchburg.