FEBRUARY 11, 1958
LOS ANGELES—I seem to do nothing these days but write about people who are living on pensions, but today's case is not one of financial disability.
The Peoria, Ill., Chapter No. 1 of the Disabled American Veterans is supporting a bill, HR 4214, introduced by Senator Everett M. Dirksen of Illinois. The member of the chapter who wrote to me about it is 100 percent disabled because "of complete loss of hearing with absence of bone and air conduction." He told me:
"The purpose of this bill is not for additional compensation but that we veterans with this type of disability may have peace of mind in knowing we are protected by law."
He must be a young man because he is a veteran of World War II, and he evidently feels the loss of hearing very keenly. He says:
"We are isolated from our loved ones, we are isolated from the social and entertainment world of sound. We cannot even go to the church of our choice and hear our minister speak the word of God. Our only means of communication is the writing pad and lip reading. I am sure that no person, with all of their God-given senses, would sell their hearing for any amount of money."
He even quotes Miss Helen Keller as having said: "Hearing is the deepest, most humanizing, philosophical sense that man possesses."
I should think that men with this disability would be assured of complete compensation, but if this bill is needed to give them this assurance, I am sure that every voter in this country would want it to be passed. And I have no question but what the members of Congress will feel the need of giving the veterans this reassurance. Of course, any disability must be proved to be service-connected, but in a case of this kind that would not be hard to prove.
* * *
I left New York for Phoenix, Ariz., last Saturday and was met there by my son, Elliott, and his wife, Minnewa, who took me to their home in Scottsdale. They have just added a little guest house and I always find that I get new ideas from my daughter-in-law, who manages to make every home she has most attractive and livable.
The weather there is really at its best at this season and I think it must be difficult for my son to fly up to the cold climate of Colorado, as he does for a couple of days every week.
I always enjoy the flight out there by day. One really gets a chance to visualize the size and grandeur of the United States. I have made many trips at night, but flying in the daytime once in a while is a pleasant change.
I have started on my longest lecture trip of the season, but actually I will be gone only about 10 days.