Most people know almost nothing about it. They have grown up in a world virtually free of the disease. They don’t know the fear of an epidemic, when in a matter of weeks an infectious disease can paralyze hundreds of people in one small community, most children. They haven’t seen every ward in the local hospital filled with people trapped in machines called iron lungs, wheezing and gasping as the gears and levers move their paralyzed chest. They haven’t seen the aftermath, the children in leg braces or wheelchairs after weeks or months in the hospital, hoping they might walk again.

Most of us have forgotten about the epidemics of the early 1950s, forgotten about polio — poliomyelitis, aka infantile paralysis — but there are people in Wenatchee who can’t. They live with its effects every day. Some of them remembered their ordeal at a meeting of the Wenatchee Rotary.

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