Governor Wolf Pays Tribute to Former Sen. Harris Wofford

March 02, 2019

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf made the following remarks while paying tribute to former Sen. Harris Wofford today at his memorial service in Washington, D.C.:

“Hello and thank you for being here today.

“I’m here for two reasons: To pay tribute to a Pennsylvanian who honored the commonwealth by his service, and, second, to pay tribute to a human being who was an inspiration to me.

“On both, I extend my deepest condolences to all who loved him, and I want to thank Harris’ family for sharing him with us.

“His life story is a remarkable one. He seemed to always be where something important was happening – and as he lived his life – the important things that were happening had a lot to do with him.

“Thus, he and Clair traveled to India soon after its independence, where they met most of the key leaders of that independence movement.

“He was Father Hesburgh’s lieutenant on the Civil Rights Commission. He brought Gandhian non-violence to Martin Luther King Jr.’s attention. He convinced JFK of the need to take civil rights seriously, including his famous phone call to Coretta Scott King.

“He helped Sargent Shriver found his Peace Corps. He was a college president – twice. He served in Gov. Robert Casey’s cabinet. He was a U.S. senator.

“In all these things, he made our world a much better one, and it was truly a great thing that some of the chapters of his distinguished life had a connection to Pennsylvania.

“All of us in Pennsylvania remember him with great appreciation, and we mourn his passing.

“I got to know him through our shared commitment to the Peace Corps. He was one of its founders. I was a volunteer.

“He was possessed by the idea – and the practice – of service.

“From the Peace Corps to the Citizen Service Project to public service, he judged himself and the people he knew by their willingness to serve.

“Like many others here today, I was privileged to know him. And, I was privileged to see firsthand how his passion for serving others made the lives of so many of us better.

“As Harris said in his last words on the Senate floor, ‘My thoughts tonight are most of all on how lucky I have been; how very lucky.’

“Actually, Harris, we who knew you were the lucky ones.”

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