OCTOBER 4, 1944
WASHINGTON, Tuesday—I spent most of yesterday at Mitchel Field, visiting the debarkation hospital, having lunch at the hospital mess, and attending and speaking at the show which is given every Monday afternoon in the Red Cross room.
Men from the European theatre are being flown back here as quickly as possible when it becomes apparent that they cannot be restored in a short time to duty. A story in the New York Times yesterday showed one of our hospital camps in England where men who have been only slightly wounded are being reconditioned for service. No one can go to Mitchel Field and not come away with a deep sense of pride in the men themselves, and also of gratitude to the doctors and nurses who do such a magnificent job.
It is, of course, a satisfaction to them to feel that they can alleviate the suffering which is the result of war. Nevertheless, I often wonder how they bear the constant strain of human tragedies which they have to be in touch with day in and day out. Just walking along the street the other day, I passed a theatre where the crowd was streaming in, and there stood a group of sailors. Among them was a boy with a cane and his hand on another boy's arm. His face had that sad, blank look of a recently blinded person, and it has haunted me ever since. I know they say that once the blind are taught, they become very independent and are, on the whole, happier than the deaf; but it is a comparison which I find hard to make. If you are young and face a long life with either handicap, it seems to me that it requires a tremendous amount of courage.
I attended a meeting last evening, then took the night train to Washington. This marks my real return to Washington for the winter season. The summer in the country has been a very busy one, with approximately eight children to keep me company a good part of the time, and a very important gentleman coming frequently, and no inconsiderable number of other guests. Life has been different from life here, but never dull or unoccupied.
Today is filled with appointments. I am always surprised at the number of people one can see during the course of a single day, and of course, I have met with my press conference. The mail is taking on quite monumental proportions, and Miss Thompson and I, wherever we go, find ourselves with several hours of work on our hands just attending to the daily mail. If the days are filled with seeing people, long hours of the night have to be put in on reading and deciding what to do with letters; so it is good to have had time in the country, because you do come back to an ever busier city life with added zest!