13 November 2006

An Arm and a Leg

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.


3 comments:

Mass Bradley said...

Thanks to Mr. Bush and his OverSeas Adventures, we can all expect to see lots more young men and women home from Da Warz sporting the latest in prosthetic goodness!
Who knows--- maybe the phrase "war wounds" will finally gain currency as an authentic badge of honor among our young peeps, replacing such old skool bling as gold chains and Escalade hood ornaments.
Gotta go-- Homeland Security calling!

mass Bradley said...

...(Not snarking on you, my friend--- just letting off a bit of political steam...)

mass bradley said...

Don Rumsfeld is coming over to babysit tomorrow.
Says he's got some free time to kill.