**Download Production Quality Footage HERE**
WASHINGTON, D.C. –Last night, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) took to the Senate floor to honor the memory of Cleveland Native, Buffalo Soldier, and Olympic legend, Harrison Dillard, who passed away last month.
Brown’s full remarks, as prepared for delivery, can be found below. Production quality video can be downloaded here.
I rise today to honor a Cleveland native, a Buffalo Soldier, and an Olympic legend, Harrison Dillard.
We lost Mr. Dillard last month at the age of 96, after a life that included service to our country in WWII, four Olympic gold medals, and world records.
Mr. Dillard grew up racing up and down streets of our shared hometown with friends. When he was 13, he saw his hometown hero, Jesse Owens, in a parade.
He ran home and told his mother, “I just saw Jesse Owens, and I’m going to be just like him.”
She humored her son, like all mothers do. But Harrison was serious. He and his friends would take old car seats and put them in the street to jump over as practice.
When he enrolled at Jesse Owens’ alma mater, East Technical High School on the East Side of Cleveland, Owens himself gave Harrison a new pair of running shoes.
Mr. Dillard joined the Army after high school and served in the segregated 92nd Infantry Division, known as the Buffalo Soldiers. After the war ended, General Patton saw him at an Army track meet, and told the papers, “He’s the best Goddamned athlete I’ve ever seen.”
Harrison Dillard would go on to prove him right.
He represented our country at the London Olympics and brought home two gold medals. In the 100 meter race, he achieved his childhood dream, matching Owens’ Olympic record time of 10.3 seconds.
Mr. Dillard would later write in his autobiography that, “I could finally say that I was just like him.”
Plenty of people tried to hold Harrison Dillard back, because of his skin. He recalled how after his military discharge, he was once refused food at a restaurant.
It’s shameful that this is how we have treated veterans – and fellow citizens – in this country.
But it’s a testament to Mr. Dillard’s tenacity and talent that he achieved so much, in the face of a society that was so often set up to hold him back.
Harrison Dillard ended his career serving the city that raised him, working for the Cleveland public school system.
His legacy will live on in Northeast Ohio and around the country not only in the record books, but also through the young people he inspired. I ask all my colleagues to join me in honoring Harrison Dillard.