Secretary Melvin R. Laird, Dr. Howard A. Rusk, and distinguished guests:
I am indeed pleased that I have the honor of being one of the sponsors of the dinner paying richly deserved tribute to Mary
Lasker. I am indeed distressed that due to a long standing previous engagement I cannot be at the dinner.
We Alabamians were rightly proud of the late Helen Keller, our fellow Alabamian, who both deaf and blind, traveled the continents
of the world working and living for the health and well being of the American people and of all peoples.
In a few moments there is no way of summing up what Mary Lasker has done in the field of health and medical research over
the past three decades or more. Her persistence, her charm and her vision bear personal witness. During the many years in
which I chaired both the Appropriations and the Legislative Committees on
Health in the United States Senate, my most frequent, dedicated and effective visitor was the lady whom you honor tonight--Mary
Whether it was the establishment of a new Institute or expanded appropriations for an existing Institute, Mary Lasker let
nothing dismay her. I may state categorically and without any reservations that the National Institutes of Health--the finest
research consortium in the world--owes its present pre-eminence more to Mary Lasker than to any person I know.
As United States Senator I learned a great deal from every one of Mary Lasker's visits. Above all, I learned the most
important principle which guided my efforts in the 31 years I served in the Senate--that basic research was of limited value
until that point at which its results were transferred from the laboratory to the bedside of the patient.
I am therefore happy that you are honoring Mary Lasker for her past achievements, but secure in the knowledge that she will
continue her divine mission of narrowing the spectrum of ignorance and reaching towards the conquest of all diseases which
still plague the family of man.
In closing, may I say that Mary Lasker exemplifies in the highest degree the observation made by that immortal man of medicine,
Sir William Osler, at the beginning of the present century when he declared: