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Prof. Boerner's Explorations

Thoughts and Essays that explore the world of Technology, Computers, Photography, History and Family.


Tag: Polio

Edited by Gerald Boerner


Introductory Comments:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumb_thumbThe big events of today in history are the Battle of the Alamo in 1836 and the raising the American flag over the volcanic peak of Mount Suribachi on the desolate Pacific island of Iwo Jima in 1945. Both of these battles were costly in terms of American lives but were fought for vastly different reasons. The Alamo’s defenders represented those brave Americans who had settled in the Texas territory that belonged to the Republic of Mexico; it was part of the attempt to establish a new, independent republic in Texas. These defenders were greatly outnumbered by the forces of General Santa Ana.


In the Battle for Iwo Jima, our American marines were attempted to take this volcanic atoll from the Japanese in order to set up air bases for the new Boeing B-29s that could carry the air war to the Japanese home islands. These bases were needed by the Army Air Force, but the Japanese defenders fought hard in the defense of the island. On this day, a group of Marines fought their way to the top of Mount Suribachi, the highest point on the island, and raised the American Stars and Stripes; this image became the iconic representation of the island-hopping battles across the Pacific. Within weeks, most of the Marines who had taken this high ground, including the photographer, were dead. Long may we cherish their memory and sacrifice.

Other events of the day included advances in both science and civil rights. In 1857, the German physicist, Heinrich Hertz, was born in Hamburg, Germany. Hertz would be the first person to demonstrate the broadcasting and receiving of electromagnetic waves, radio waves, to the world. This discovery enabled Marconi to build the first radio for which Marconi received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1909. On the home front, school children in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, received the first vaccinations against polio using the vaccine developed by Jonas Salk. This was the beginning of the end of the disease that had disfigured so many, including our President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in previous years.


These were two major advances in science that have changed our world. We no longer have hospitals filled with “iron lungs” to keep unfortunate individuals stricken by polio. And who can imagine a world without radio? Remember, the wireless network connections that we have in cafes, hotels, and our homes would not exist without the pioneering work on radio waves done be Heinrich Hertz. And our cell phones, as well, benefit from this technology.

On the civil rights front, Frank E. Petersen, Jr., a U.S. Marine, was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General (1 Star) in 1979. He became the first Black marine to reach such a rank; he would reach the rank of Lieutenant General (3 Stars) by the time he retired in 1988. One might react with surprise that it has taken so long for a talented Black man to reach such a rank if it were not so sad. We must always be aware of the need to recognize talent where it lies, disregarding color or gender lines!

We now will proceed to examine some of the events that are associated with day in history... GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2012 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 1161 Words ]


Quotations Related to Davy Crockett:

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“Be always sure you are right – then go ahead.”
— Davy Crockett

“I have always supported measures and principles and not men.”
— Davy Crockett

“I would rather be beaten, and be a man, than to be elected and be a little puppy dog.”
— Davy Crockett

“Heaven knows that I have done all that a mortal could do, to save the people, and the failure was not my fault, but the fault of others.”
— Davy Crockett

“The enemy fought with savage fury, and met death with all its horrors, without shrinking or complaining: not one asked to be spared, but fought as long as they could stand or sit.”
— Davy Crockett

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Edited by Gerald Boerner



JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumbOver the past half century, we have seen some of the greatest scourges of history reach the point of virtual eradication. Smallpox, Polio, and Rubella have all but disappeared from the developed countries and most of the third world countries. These crippling and deadly diseases are no longer a worry for most parents. In recent years, there has been been some rebound of these diseases following an increasing numbers of more affluent parents withholding the early childhood vaccinations due to their fear of autism. Yes, AIDS is still resistant to elimination, but we hold out hope that a cure for that malady will soon be found.


But that was not the case during the first half of the 20th century. Smallpox was still a killer. But the most feared malady was the incapacitating threat to young children. Our wartime president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, was stricken with it in the 1920s, leaving his legs crippled. This threat was Infantile Paralysis (Polio) and its effects could range from mild to severe disfigurement and/or death. It forced those whose lungs were effected to be placed in “Iron Lungs” to enable them to breath. I grew up in Downey and that was the location of a large hospital dedicated to the treatment of polio — Rancho Los Amigos Hospital.

Hope came during the early 1950s when Jonas Salk developed a Polio Vaccine. Children were protected and polio became a rare occurrence. After a few years, Rancho Los Amigos was re-tasked to serve as a mental hospital.

And who do we have to thank for these advances in fighting polio and other communicable diseases? The March of Dimes. It all got started when children in the late 1930s were asked to send in their spare dimes to President Roosevelt. By 1938, sufficient funds had arrived that prompted FDR to create the group that became the March of Dimes. To borrow the words of another: “Thank you Mr. President!”.

But, let’s get on with our exploration of the history and work of the March of Dimes… GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2012 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 3632 Words ]


Quotations Related to Polio:


“Having children made us look differently at all these things that we take for granted, like taking your child to get a vaccine against measles or polio.”
— Melinda Gates

“Nature [is] that lovely lady to whom we owe polio, leprosy, smallpox, syphilis, tuberculosis, cancer.”
— Anonymous

“When I worked on the polio vaccine, I had a theory. I guided each [experiment] by imagining myself in the phenomenon in which I was interested. The intuitive realm … the realm of the imagination guides my thinking.”
— Jonas Salk

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