Ferguson: The wounded (1-25-44)

The Pittsburgh Press (January 25, 1944)


Ferguson: The wounded

By Mrs. Walter Ferguson

In a press conference, Mrs. Roosevelt proposed an educational campaign to prepare American families for war’s sharpest blow – mutilation of their boys in battle.

At last, the people of the United States are face to face with war. When the wounded come home, as they are coming, and the hospitals begin to fill, we shall touch grim reality.

The parting of wives from husbands, of children from fathers, of parents from sons and daughters, is a kind of death – so much so that when the little yellow telegrams come, bearing their sorrowful tidings – “Dead,” or “Missing” – the bereaved have already experienced that awful moment in imagination.

Many of our dead are buried overseas. Thus, relatives can reject the fact that they are gone forever. It takes a long time to adjust ourselves to believe that the one who went away in the full flush of health will not come back. And if his body does not come back, somehow it’s easy to think he is alive somewhere.

But when the men return with bodies maimed and minds affected, our courage must match theirs on the battlefield. For the blinded, the crippled and the mentally exhausted must be taken back into civilian life as quickly as possible. They must be made to feel useful.

In order to build up their self-esteem, the families and friends to these men will be required to use tact, understanding and love, and the communities in which they live should begin making plans for taking them into industry and the professions.

To them we owe an everlasting debt. May we pay it better than we paid a similar debt to wounded veterans of the last war. Thousands of them are shut away in hospitals, cared for according to the letter of the law but abandoned in spirit, forgotten by those who once sang their praises.


Mrs. Ferguson, these are very wise words to prepare Americans for the eventual return of thousands of men who will forever live the consequences of war. The only question is will Americans rise to these high expectations? I wonder how Americans measured up to these expectations.

1 Like