FEBRUARY 21, 1944
WASHINGTON, Sunday—Mrs. Henry H. Arnold brought Colonel Howard A. Rusk to lunch on Friday. Colonel Rusk is under General Grant in charge of the rehabilitation work in the Air Force hospitals. They wanted me to know what they are doing in these hospitals, both to bring these men back into the service and to prepare them, if need be, for a return to civilian life, so that I could take the message to wounded boys overseas.
It is a thrilling program, and one wishes that it might be carried on in every overseas area so that from the beginning, every wounded boy would know that no matter what his handicap, he would be helped to the greatest possible usefulness. He would see that practically everyone can overcome his disabilities and find his place in the community.
I thought of this philosophy as I sat waiting to go on a local broadcast at Walter Reed Hospital in the late afternoon on Friday. The Treasury Department was awarding a certificate to a patient who had sold the most war bonds. A commercial firm donated its time on the air for this program which has been carried on every afternoon at Walter Reed Hospital. The boys went on the air and told what had happened to them in the service of their country and then from their beds they answered the telephone and took orders for bonds.
The first prize was a $500 bond, and it was won by Corporal Fred Dixon of Macon, Ga. He has lost both legs, but as we stood chatting, he told me that he used to be an electrician, and he said he was going to take advantage of every bit of training that the government could give him so he would have a better job in the future. That is the spirit which will win the war. Private Charles Goodman and Private Jack Indictor, who won the second and third prizes, sold many bonds also, but each of them congratulated the winner of the top prize. You could see that they were genuinely glad that the boy who had the biggest fight before him had come out on top.
We had two boys from the Naval Hospital at dinner Friday night, besides various other friends, and then we saw the movie which tells the story of Madame Curie's life. It is a wonderful picture, and I hope it will be shown to every boy who has a fight to make, either in the hospital or in the field.
I have a photograph of Madame Curie which she gave Mrs. William Brown Meloney, and which Mrs. Meloney's son sent to me after his mother's death. It hangs in my little New York City apartment, where I can see it as I sit at my desk. The more I look at Madame Curie's face, the more I seem to learn about character and will and courage. She had all these to an unusual degree.