MAY 8, 1943
WASHINGTON, Friday—I attended the British War Relief luncheon yesterday and saw a number of people by appointment in the afternoon.
One of the things brought to my attention recently is the effort which is being made to spread the observance of "Shut-In Day," on the first Sunday in June. This year it will fall on June 16th.
Canada, I think, first sponsored this day and it has already spread to a number of states and communities in our country. Many organizations—business, religious, civic and recreational—have cooperated to make it a day when handicapped people who cannot leave their homes will feel themselves specially remembered in their communities. Almost everyone knows someone who cannot leave his room, or his bed, or his chair.
These people rarely want sympathy. They strive in every way they know how to be of use in the world, to earn their own way if possible. Many of them have developed, because of their handicap, some very interesting ways of being of service to others. Nevertheless, few of them would deny, I think, that little attentions which show that other people have thought of them, mean a great deal.
Perhaps, this year, this day will have a particularly poignant signifigance for a great many people, for every day this war goes on, we are adding to our casuality lists, and some of these boys may be shut-ins in the future. They will want visitors, they will want suggestions, perhaps help in getting started in some new kind of work which is fitted to their particular capacity.
I have been thinking a good deal about these young men who are beginning to come into our military hospitals in considerable numbers. In spite of the fact that many of them will be able to continue to perform limited service in the armed forces, I have been wondering whether the Congress and the executive departments involved, might not make a survey to determine what would be most helpful to these men in making them useful in the future.
Many of them must have interrupted their education, and if they continued it at once, it might lead into professions or occupations which they could carry through quite well inspite of their handicaps.
I wonder if this isn't something that needs to be done now instead of waiting until the war is over.
Congress is the only body which, of course, can decide what is the right attitude on the part of the government in this situation. I am quite sure that they are already giving it much thought, but sometimes we think so long we do not act, and I think action should be taken fairly quickly in the present situation.