FEBRUARY 22, 1958
CHICAGO—The AFL-CIO has given its annual memorial award for humanitarian service during the past year to Dr. Jonas E. Salk, who developed the anti-polio vaccine.
It was presented at a luncheon Wednesday noon at which Dr. Salk was unable to be present because, as he explained in a letter to President George Meany, he felt that he should not allow himself to be lured away from his laboratory. There, he felt, he must work hard and consistently, since research is a hard taskmaster that requires long and constant service.
I felt greatly honored to receive this award, given annually in memory of Philip Murray and William Green, for Dr. Salk and to express his thanks and appreciation for the recognition given by labor to his work.
Being a modest man, Dr. Salk insisted that he accept the award for all those whose work led to the final discovery it was his good fortune to make.
It is obvious that he was correct in giving credit to the army of people who are always responsible for any new scientific discovery, but many people are not as thoughtful in recognizing those whose work led to the final step.
Dr. Salk is one of those scientists who hopes that science can really make a contribution to society and he works as a citizen as well as a scientist to try to bring out the peacetime contributions of science rather than to have us all think primarily of the destructive uses to which science can be put today.
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I went to the preview at the Belasco Theatre in New York of a play called "The Day the Honey Stopped" in which Richard Basehart plays the part of a charming ne'er-do-well and scoundrel.
It is a human play which brings out the fact that many may go through life appearing to be impeccable and yet practically all of us at some point slide off our pedestals and fail to live up to the principles that we would have people believe have always motivated our lives.
Richard Basehart and Kevin McCarthy, whose role is the good son in contrast to the ne'er-do-well, are familiar characters in most of our lives, and so is the sister, and the story can be duplicated many times over.
It is a play to enjoy and to be amused by. It shows without shame not only the failings of human nature, but also some of the virtues. I think everyone will enjoy the acting, which is excellent, and go away feeling that the evening has been well spent.