JANUARY 23, 1943
WASHINGTON, Friday—Yesterday was a long day, but it was a very interesting one, after I finally succeeded in breaking the bottle on the "Yorktown." It did not break on the first try and I had to seize it again with both hands and smash it to be sure that the rapidly moving ship was properly christened. I am always very nervous until that feat is finally accomplished.
We had a very good cafeteria luncheon afterwards in the apprentice school building, and then I went with Admiral and Mrs. Simons to the Naval Hospital. Rear Admiral Sutton, who is in command, first took us through a new dormitory building for the corpsmen and the petty officers in the medical corps, and then to the wards where the men were from overseas.
I had the opportunity of speaking with a number of men from Africa and with two men from Guadalcanal. I hope we are making great strides in the treatment of burns, since that seems to be one of the most serious things from which our men suffer.
I saw some wonderful recoveries today, where the men had regained flexibility of their hands in a really remarkable way.
I spent a quiet evening catching up on the mail. I imagine it will take me some little time to do, since when one is away, there are always some things which are neglected.
I have just read W. L. White's "They Were Expendable." It is a tale of heroism and sacrfice and, withal, told so cheerfully that sometimes one can hardly believe that one understands what one is reading. I could hardly finish this book and had to put it aside a number of times and make myself go back to it, not because it is not beautifully written, but because there seems to be no excuse for ever considering human beings expendable.
If we ever again are guilty of leaving people without the best possible equipment in adequate amounts, in a world which requires such equipment, then somehow we should make it a prerequisite that the older people who are responsible are promptly sent out to die in these frontier battles. Why should the young always be expendable for the mistakes of the old?
I have felt guilty ever since I have read that book. If ever again, I do not face the truth of a situation and do my best to make my fellow citizens face it too, I hope I get my proper punishment.