Over the weekend, I saw a fairly interesting movie from 1944 called "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo": a dramatized version of the first bombing raid of Tokyo in 1942. I am also reading about this event, and the people involved in it, in a book called "Flyboys." Pretty grim reading.
However, this post is not about that book or movie; rather, a scene from the movie in which one of the pilots has to have his leg amputated because of injuries when his plane crashed.
The character was going on and on about how he did not want his wife to know about the amputation, and hesitated about his options when he was told it was either his leg or his life.
While I certainly don't think losing an arm or a leg is any kind of picnic, I cannot imagine hesitating if given those options. I am not my leg or my arm, I am my brain.
Could this character's concerns have stemmed from the fact that prosthetics were not as good then (compared to now), or were such people really so badly discriminated against just because they had a fake leg?
I remember an early scene in another war-related movie, "The Best Years of Our Lives" (1946), when real-life double-amputee Harold Russell returns home for the first time after his injury. When his mom sees his missing hands she has a look on her face that basically says "Our lives are over, his life is over, we might just as well kill ourselves now."
Whatever the context back then, I am just glad people with disabilities are not looked at like such pariahs anymore.