Fifty years ago today, April 12, 1955, the Salk vaccine for polio was approved for use in the general population. Mothers all over the world heaved a huge sigh of relief.
I was born a year later, so I never had to live in the environment of fear of the horrible disease that could cripple a child for life, but my older sisters did. Or more precisely, my mother did. I'm not sure if my sisters were aware of it.
My mother tells the story of taking my sister Nancy to the Children's Hospital emergency room in 1952 and having to wait outside for fear that she might have polio and infect other children.
People my age didn't have the fear of polio, but grew up in its shadow. Our older brothers and sisters may have had it, and we all knew somebody who walked with a limp or wore a leg brace because of polio. Our mothers never let us forget how lucky we were.
So today, take a look at your children and yourself and marvel at the fact how a crippling disease was wiped out in our lifetime. And like mom says, don't ever forget how lucky you are.