January 19, 1961 – A day of contrasts. First, news of the death of humanitarian Dr. Tom Dooley, whose efforts in bringing medical care to the people of Laos and his books describing his ordeals were an inspiration and catalyst for the organization of The Peace Corps. Dooley succumbed to malignant melanoma after being diagnosed a year earlier. His battle with Cancer became a CBS Television documentary – and Dooley’s legacy of Humanitarian efforts in Southeast Asia created The Dooley Society in providing medical aid to impoverished countries. He also served as an example for Humanitarian efforts as well as founding MEDICO (Medical International Cooperation Organization), which was an aid agency used in building rural hospitals throughout Southeast Asia.
As a tribute, this news program runs an interview with Dooley from a year earlier where he talks about his fight with Cancer.
And on the other side of the contrast – preparations were underway for the Inauguration of President-elect JohnF. Kennedy, which was to take place the next day. Despite unseasonal cold weather, and a blizzard blowing across the region, all was ready for the swearing in ceremony and the Inaugural Ball was going ahead as planned on this evening, ahead of the ceremonies the following day.
Also, a commentary on the new US Ambassador to the United Nations, the former Presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson, who was scheduled to assume the position within the coming days. It was wondered what kind of Ambassador Stevenson would make – how would he handle the Soviet Union and all the other potential hotspots looming throughout the world during the Kennedy years.
Just a sample of what pre-Inauguration Day was like, this January 19, 1961 as reported by WRUL Radio News.