On April 12, 1955, church bells pealed throughout the United States. Employees of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis beamed, and thousands upon thousands of volunteers for the lay organization the March of Dimes celebrated a job well done. These volunteers had walked their communities, apartment houses, cinema theaters, and even grocery stores soliciting contributions, and millions of adults and school children had made large and small donations. Not since the Second World War had the fabric of America been woven together more tightly in a single cause. That cause was the conquest of poliomyelitis. The ringing of the bells was testimony to the announcement that the clinical trial of the polio vaccine showed it to be effective in preventing disease. The Associated Press dispatch of that day read: "(Advance) Ann Arbor, Mich. (AP) -- "The Salk polio vaccine is safe, effective and potent it was officially announced today."
Diseases, in general, have no respect for the boundaries of any one nation or region. However, with polio, two countries made it their own challenge.