An Invisible Host
by Raymond B. Fosdick (1883-1972)
Past President of the Rockefeller Foundation
An American soldier wounded on a battlefield in the Far East owes his life to the Japanese scientist Kitasato, who isolated the bacillus of tetanus.
A Russian soldier saved by a blood transfusion is indebted to Landsteiner, an Austrian.
A German is shielded from typhoid fever with the help of a Russian, Metchnikoff.
A Dutch Marine in the East Indies is protected from malaria because of the experiments of an Italian, Grassi.
A British aviator in North Africa escapes death from surgical infection because a Frenchman, Pasteur, and a German, Koch, elaborated a new technique.
In peace, as in war, we are beneficiaries of knowledge contributed by every nation in the world.
Our children are guarded from diphtheria by what a Japanese and a German did; they are protected from smallpox by the work of an Englishman; they are saved from rabies because of a Frenchman; they are cured of pellagra from the researches of an Austrian.
From birth to death they are surrounded by an invisible host – the spirits of men who never thought in terms of flags or boundary lines and who never served a lesser loyalty than the welfare of mankind.