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Citations for Dr. Jonas E. Salk and The National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis for the Polio Vaccine
By Dwight D. Eisenhower
Mar 17, 2006, 1:11pm



These two citations given by President Eisenhower to Dr. Jonas Salk and The National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis were given to recognize their contributions to the world for the discovery of the polio vaccine.

Following is the text from the original White House press release issued on April 22, 1955 by James C. Haggerty, Secretary to the President. View the original document in PDF format.


In this staged photograph a nurse shows a newspaper with a headline about the polio vaccine to a man using a chest respirator. Of course, the vaccine came too late for this patient but this image captures the intensity of the relief that people felt in 1955 when an effective vaccine was found. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History will mark the 50th anniversary of Jonas Salk’s introduction of a successful polio vaccination with “Whatever Happened to Polio?,” a one-year display scheduled to open on April 12, 2005, the anniversary of the announcement of an effective vaccine. (Photo courtesy of Polio Canada/Ontario March of Dimes)


Citation: Citations for Dr. Jonas E. Salk and The National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis for the Polio Vaccine, April 22, 1955; The Dwight D. Eisenhower Museum and Library; National Achives.


IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 22, 1955
James C. Hagerty, Press Secretary to the President


THE WHITE HOUSE

Following are the Citations given today by
the President to Dr. Jonas E. Salk and the
National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis


The Citation for Dr. Salk is as follows:

Because of a signal and historical contribution to human welfare by Dr. Jonas E. Salk in his development of a vaccine to prevent paralytic poliomyelitis, I, Dwight D. Eisenhower, President of the United States, on behalf of the people of the United States, present to him this citation for his extraordinary achievement.

The work of Dr. Salk is in the highest tradition of selfless and dedicated medical research. He has provided a means for the control of a dread disease. By helping scientists in other countries with technical information; by offering to them the strains of seed virus and professional aid so that the production of vaccine can be started by them everywhere; by welcoming them to his laboratory that they may gain a fuller knowledge, Dr. Salk is a benefactor of mankind.

His achievement, a credit to out entire scientific community, does honor to all the people of the United States.

The Citation for the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis is as follows:

I, Dwight D. Eisenhower, President of the United States, present this special citation to the National Foundation for infantile paralysis for its unswerving devotion to the eradication of poliomyelitis.

The American people recognize a debt of gratitude to the Foundation and to its founder, the late President Franklin D. Roosevelt, whose personal courage in overcoming the handicap of poliomyelitis stands as a symbol of the fight against this disease.

Without the support and encouragement of the Foundation, the work of Dr. Jonas E. Salk and many others who contributed to the development of a preventive vaccine could not have gone forward so rapidly. The Foundation displayed remarkable faith in sponsoring and determination in fostering their valiant effort for the health of all mankind.

The generous voluntary support of the Foundation by the American people has been dramatically justified. In their name, I am privileged to make this award to the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis.


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In this March of Dimes promotional photograph, Elvis Presley receives his polio vaccination in 1956. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History will mark the 50th anniversary of Jonas Salk’s introduction of a successful polio vaccination with “Whatever Happened to Polio?,” a one-year display scheduled to open on April 12, 2005, the anniversary of the announcement of an effective vaccine. (Photo courtesy of Polio Canada/Ontario March of Dimes)



Learning Links

The Salk Polio Vaccine
This page contains original source documents from President Eisenhower's term in office related to the polio vaccine. "The 1950s are often considered to be a safe and quiet decade when American families moved to the suburbs, drove large modern automobiles, and enjoyed a stable and prosperous economy. But beneath this tranquil scene, parents faced a great fear-the dreaded poliomyelitis, or polio as it is commonly known. The disease had killed over thirteen hundred Americans (a large percentage were children) and crippled more than eighteen thousand more in the year 1954 alone. On April 12, 1955, American received the much-welcomed news that Dr. Jonas Salk had developed a vaccine against the frightening disease....."
Source: The Dwight D. Eisenhower Museum and Library

Dr. Jonas Salk - The Time 100
Learn more about Dr. Jonas Salk and his work with the polio vaccine in this Time Magazine tribute to the most important people of the 20th century.
Source: Time Magazine

Whatever happened to polio?
"In the United States, polio was the most notorious disease of the 20th century until AIDS appeared. On April 12, 1955, it was announced that Jonas Salk, using March of Dimes donations from millions of people, had developed a vaccine to prevent polio." Activities, a timeline, and historical photos make this a fascinating site on the subject.
Source: Smithsonian National Museum of American History




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