Harry S. Truman photo

Radio Remarks on the 10th Anniversary of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis.

January 30, 1948

[ Broadcast from the White House at 11:50 p.m. ]

My fellow citizens:

On this 10th anniversary of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, it is well that we should pause for serious reflection on a problem that is close to the heart of every mother and father in America. This ruthless enemy, infantile paralysis, endangers a vital treasure--the health of our children.

Much has already been done toward conquering infantile paralysis, but much more remains to be done before this disease is completely banished from the earth. It may take many more years and many more millions of dollars. But it is our heartfelt hope that someday, thanks to unceasing research, we shall find the solution to one of the most baffling medical mysteries of all time.

Year after year, you have given to the March of Dimes. And year after year more barriers have been erected by your National Foundation to help protect American children from the ravages of infantile paralysis.

You have made it possible for thousands afflicted by this terrible disease to rise from their wheelchairs and return to normal, active lives. You have brought new courage to handicapped men and women who had long since given up hope of ever overcoming the deformities left by infantile paralysis. You have brought peace to troubled hearts of parents who could not afford medical care needed by a loved one.

Your generosity this year will decide the fate of thousands more. True, you may never hear the gratitude of all those you have helped and will help. But there will be abundant reward in the knowledge that you are doing so much to lift the yoke of suffering from your fellow man.

For the first time in medical history, authorities on infantile paralysis from every part of the world will meet in New York next summer to exchange and discuss information about polio. Our Department of State has already invited representatives from more than 60 nations to participate in this international conference being sponsored by the National Foundation.

Infantile paralysis has occurred in many other countries of the world, but, thanks to the vigilance of the National Foundation, no nation has been so well armed as ours to combat it.

When cases of infantile paralysis were reported among our occupation troops in Germany last year, your National Foundation went into action immediately. A complete unit of doctors, nurses, and technicians especially trained in the treatment of polio, was ready within a few hours to fly to the aid of our American soldiers.

The first line of defense in this war against infantile paralysis has been formed by your contributions to the March of Dimes. This line of defense is important to our national security. I say "national security" advisedly, because only a healthy nation can be a truly strong nation.

I ask you to give--and give generously-to the March of Dimes.

Harry S. Truman, Radio Remarks on the 10th Anniversary of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/232747

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