Dwight D. Eisenhower
[Text] Eisenhower Thanks Jonas Salk for the Polio Vaccine

Citation read by the President on April 22, 1955 in the Rose Garden.Wisdom-cover2

Because of a signal and historic 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 our entire scientific community, does honor to all the people of the United States.

Personal remarks of the President

Dr. Salk, before I hand you this Citation, I should like to say to you that when I think of the countless thousands of American parents and grandparents who are hereafter to be spared the agonizing fears of the annual epidemic of poliomyelitis, when I think of all the agony that these people will be spared seeing their loved ones suffering in bed, I must say to you I have no words in which adequately to express the thanks of myself and all the people I know–all 164 million Americans, to say nothing of all the people in the world that will profit from your discovery.

I am very, very happy to hand this to you.

To read more about Dwight D. Eisenhower’s life and presidency, visit the American Presidency Project.

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