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the fortune of war may have been, has been one of the lessons of history. The present American army, going to the front cleaner than any army ever went before, holding itself in the sharpest contrast with the revolting brutality of its opponents, infused with the spirit of an errand of mercy, holding together in loyal comradeship men of different conditions, races, creeds, bent solely upon the victory of democracy and that for all men everywhere, will return as the dominant nucleus of a new responsible and chivalrous citizenship. From out of the army and all the associated services will come great numbers of young men whose experience and vision will make them eager to find opportunities in the marshalled forces of peace corresponding to those which have absorbed them during the war. By the growth of a manifold ordered synthesis of social work, with that shoulder to shoulder re-enforcement to courage and aspiration which peace can give as powerfully as war, and charged with a motive which will confirm and glorify that of the war itself, our ranks are being made ready to receive new recruits of such number and quality as we have not even hoped before.
For the new awakening that will come, we must be prepared with wider views, farther aims, keener insights, bolder aspirations. Tagore, the Hindu poet, has said, "Man is reducing himself to his minimum in order to make amplest room for his organizations." The test of the organization which we seek to build must be in its reach toward the maximum standards of living and of life. Nothing less can draw to itself the great host of the young men and young women whose whole careers from henceforth are keyed to the exalted watchwords of the lifeand-death struggle of a world toward the light.
For this great new regimentation of the free which the American nation is achieving—in apparent conflict with its established tradition—we cannot find it anywhere in our thought to be afraid. So far from repressing in the service of the commonwealth the zest of invention, initiative and selective choice, it must surely enhance the range and power of personality and of the whole variety of like-minded groups. It is a regimentation of the free for the free and by the free. It is only a later and riper growth of liberty and union, one and inseparable,—with the vast intention now of a world-wide application. It is bent upon completing and confirming the enfranchisement of all peoples everywhere, to be wrought out in terms of human fulfillment, of the more abundant life in widest commonalty spread.
THE RETURN OF THE CANADIAN SOLDIER TO CIVIL
T. B. Kidner, Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment Department,
As the chairman has so well said, though it is a frightful price to pay, one of the good things that is coming out of the war is that we are getting together, that we as allies are "all in it" and are going to stay in it together till we put the dirty job through. I was glad the chairman gave the title to my remarks that he did * because the title as announced in the program implies a much wider field than I could deal with this evening.
Up to the present, our work in Canada has dealt only with the rehabilitation of the disabled who have come back to us. I like that word your chairman used earlier tonight—"reconstruction.'' That is what we have been doing for the men who have returned to us disabled by wounds or disease. The problem of the disabled soldier is not a new one. Nations have faced it before, but the magnitude of the present conflict and the nature of the armies—on our side at all events—have made it very much more real and vital than in any other war. It is not enough that at the end of it we shall reward those men with a medal and a pension in order to show our gratitude. The disabled must be helped in every way to realize that for them the joy of life still exists, that the greatest happiness comes from service. We have been trying to do that with our disabled in Canada.
Old Problems with New Faces
Like a great many other problems which have been shown up by the war, many of the so-called disabled soldier problems were with us before the war. The difficulties of dealing with the disabled soldier who is idle are no more than those of dealing with other men who are idle. We should give them something to do because of the value of work to any sick man.
There are some difficulties in the way. There is that natural feeling on the part of the man that he has done his bit and therefore the country owes him a living. I prefer to put it that the country owes him an opportunity to earn a living and should do all possible to put him in condition so that he may do it. It is natural that the disabled man should feel depressed, that he should feel that he deserves a living from his country. That feeling is often increased by the well-meaning efforts of people who make rather too much of him at first. Of course nothing is too good for the disabled soldier, but our attitude must not be that of unwise parents who would give their children too much candy.
Over-praise is bad for the returned soldier and bad for the nation. Moreover, the men themselves do not like it. Nothing is more repugnant to them. I am reminded of a story I told in Boston the last time I was there, to some ladies who were working in preparation for the return of wounded men. Some time before that I had visited a hospital where Private Brown was shown to us as an especially interesting patient. He was trotted out for the benefit of the visitors and displayed as a hero by the ladies who were running the hospital. As we passed on to the next ward Private Brown called me back and whispered,
•President Woods had announced that the speaker would "impart to us some of the specific results of experience in Canada in dealing with one of the most serious problems growing out of the war, namely, the care and rehabilitation of the wounded soldier."
"Say, for God's sake, can't you get me out of this place?" That is their attitude. They do not want your pity; they want help. They want sympathy, but wisely directed sympathy. They will resent it otherwise.
Initial Effort in Canada
It is now nearly three years since the stream of wounded began to come back. Our men went into action in the spring of 1915. In the late summer our men began to come home, and preparation was made to care for them. Starting in with a few small convalescent hospitals, we have now from coast to coast a series of hospitals, sanatoria, and convalescent homes devoted to this work. It is necessary that the men should be near their homes, so our hospitals are scattered from coast to coast. Although it would be easier to concentrate them in populous central localities, we have found it necessary to have a larger number of smaller hospitals strung across the country. At present we have hospitals on the Atlantic and on the Pacific and all the way between.
A great many other things besides hospitals were necessary. We had to organize the splendid instinct of the country to welcome these men. We have organized welcome committees, not only in the home towns of the men, but all along the railway lines. Employment committees had to be organized, and in this a splendid response was made by the provinces, for this was recognized to be not only a national duty, but a provincial, or state, duty as well. Especially have they co-operated in finding employment for men after recovery. Many other questions had to be dealt with, such as general aid to the men, all of which has grown up and been systematized. s
Hopeful Review of Situation
I pass on to the great work with which it is my honor to be associated, the vocational rehabilitation of the disabled. We had very little in the way of precedent to guide us when we began. France and England had done little, Germany was not doing much, so that we had to make our own experiments and our own mistakes. I will tell you of some of them, and of some of the conclusions at which we have arrived. When the work of vocational rehabilitation commenced we had eight or nine hundred men on our hands in Canada. Only the more seriously disabled are sent back. Probably it will be the same with your own men. Those with slight disabilities will be cared for in France and England until they are able to return to the front.
We made a survey of the men and discovered several cheering things—first, that the number of men who were so disabled that they would not be able to return to their former occupations was comparatively small; second, that the stories of enormous numbers of men blinded and dismembered had been greatly exaggerated. To date there are only fifty-one blinded men out of all the Canadian expeditionary forces. We have had about 30,000 seriously disabled returned to Canada, and out of this number less than 1,400 have suffered major amputations. So that the war cripple is not what we sometimes imagine when we read the illustrated papers. Fifty-five per cent of the men are suffering from what may be called medical disabilities, and less than five per cent have suffered the loss of an arm or a leg.
Those things were reassuring; bad enough though they were, yet it was good to know what our later figures have borne out, that the problem of rehabilitation was not a great one in point of numbers, serious though it be in other ways. Recently I had the pleasure of showing a group of gentlemen from Washington through some of our hospitals. At the end of the fourth day the leader of the group remarked that the men did not look like war cripples. We had seen in three cities only four dismembered men. Yesterday between breakfast and luncheon in the city of St. Louis I saw nine men in the streets who had suffered the loss of an arm or a leg.
We have a term, which is used also in France to denote the rehabilitation and training in new occupations of the more seriously disabled—vocational re-education. That forms the bulk of our work. In the first place, let me say, vocational or industrial re-education at public expense is not given to every man who returns just because he desires to take up a new occupation. None of the warring nations is doing that. It is given only to those whose disabilities will prevent them returning to their former occupations. Of the disabled men who have returned to Canada there are less than ten per cent who will require this vocational re-education. The rest will, after a period of treatment in a hospital, be able to return to their former occupations. But we do not confine our efforts in the way of vocational training to those men who cannot return to their former occupations. Every man who is being treated in hospital is given an opportunity to improve himself and to take up some line of work during convalescence that will be of some value to him in after life.
I need not say to an audience like this that work of that kind should be given in hospital for its therapeutic value. That has been proven long ago. We took up the work from that point of view. We believed idleness to be very bad, that the men would deteriorate during a long period of hospital treatment, often amidst luxurious surroundings. We have proved that a great many men could learn something which would enable them to go back to civil occupations in a better earning position than they held before the war. Already we have large numbers of men as a result of this work who are earning more money than ever before. Many kinds of work are offered in the hospitals—classes in which men can brush up their general education, in which they may take up light occupations in wood and metal and in various trades; also in gardening, poultry raising and other outdoor work wherever the conditions at the hospital will permit. Many men have been able to add to their mechanical skill certain theoretical knowledge which has made it possible for them to take positions of leadership in their trade on their return to work.
General Auxiliary Provisions
Two or three things had to be considered before we could take up re-education in new occupations of the more seriously disabled. First, we found, as France and England found, that it was necessary to make it clear to the men that they were not to have their pensions reduced because of increased earning capacity arising from vocational training. That is provided for in the pension regulations which say that a man's pension is based on his disability and will not be affected if his earning capacity is increased by training subsequent to his injury. Another thing which had to be provided was some means of maintaining his family and his dependents during the period of training, for unless the man is relieved of worry he cannot go heartily into the training and so get the best out of it. That is provided for in Canada by generous allowances.
We have not had to consider in Canada the question of making training for disabled men compulsory. France tried it and failed. I see no necessity for it at all. Our men are only too ready if we go at it in the right way, and early enough, to take up some training which will enable them once more to become useful citizens. We begin the process of cheering them up as early as possible, and give them something to do as early as possible. We have in the hospitals in England, where our men are first taken when sent from France, our moving pictures, our literature, by which they learn of this work. As soon as the man arrives at a hospital in Canada, one of our vocational advisers sees him and endeavors to arrange that from the first the work done in the hospital may have some value to him on his return to civil life.
One thing has been much discussed in France and in England and in Belgium, and that is whether the duty of directing the men towards some suitable occupation is the job of the medical or of the vocational specialist. We have joined hands in Canada, and side by side with the medical adviser is a vocational adviser. It is not solely a medical problem, nor solely an educational problem, but it is also an industrial and an economic problem. Every case in Canada is individually dealt with by the medical officer, the vocational expert, and a third man who represents the neighborhood interest and is able to advise in regard to industrial and economic conditions. Every case is decided upon personal investigation of all the circumstances of the man's life—his education, industrial history, and so on. The man's own wishes must be taken into consideration. And, having all that before us, we try to provide opportunities for beginning the training in the schools which at present exist in all our hospitals. We have at present 4,000 men receiving