From Staff Reports
There has been an outpouring of expressions pouring in from around the world regarding the recent death of former US Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret) who succumbed to illnesses exacerbated by COVID-19.
“General Colin L. Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, passed away this morning due to complications from Covid 19,” the Powell family wrote on Facebook, acknowledging he was fully vaccinated.
“We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American.”
In addition to suffering form multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer that hurts the body’s ability to fight infections, Gen. Powell was also a prostate cancer survivor.
“The passing of General Colin Powell marks a tremendous loss to our Nation and affects me deeply,” Colonel Willus Hall, Commander, 199th Regiment,
Louisiana Army National Guard. “I have applied his teachings throughout my career and stand firmly by his quote, ‘The day Soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you stop leading them.’”
For more than 50 years, Gen. Powell devoted his life to public service in senior military and diplomatic positions across four presidential administrations.
He became the 65th Secretary of State on January 20, 2001. As he stated at his confirmation hearing, the guiding principle of U.S. foreign policy during his tenure was that “America stands ready to help any country that wishes to join the democratic world.” Former President Barack Obama praised the General’s service.
“Michelle and I will always look to him as an example of what America—and Americans—can and should be,” said Mr. Obama.
Powell brought extensive experience with him to his office. Before becoming Secretary of State, he served as a key aide to the Secretary of Defense and as National Security Advisor to President Reagan. He also served 35 years in the United States Army, rising to the rank of Four-Star General and serving as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1989 to 1993).
During this time, he oversaw 28 crises including the Panama intervention of 1989 and Operation Desert Storm in the victorious 1991 Persian Gulf War.
That experience served him well, both before and particularly after the events of September 11, 2001, the day of the greatest tragedy on American soil since Pearl Harbor. As Secretary, he stood shoulder to shoulder with the President and the other members of the President’s cabinet in fighting the war on terrorism. As he often said, “winning that war is our first priority, and it will remain so for as long as necessary.”
Angela Montgomery, U.S. Navy, Retired Chief Petty Officer, met the General and said it was an honor.
“I was still active duty in the U.S. Navy and stationed at Ft. Belvoir Community Hospital,” she recalled.
“I actually had to stand duty that day but made a deal with another Chief Petty Officer to cover for me, so I can go and meet General Powell at the Base Exchange.
Attending a book signing for, “It Worked For Me,” Gen. Powell visited with those in attendance.
“When it was my turn to talk with him, he held onto my hand like a comforting grandfather and told me he was proud of my service in the Navy,” she continued. “He told me to always strive for greatness, and lead by ex- ample. He asked if I had children, and where I was from, and he is sure my family is proud of me. He also said that he bet I was a ‘firecracker’ in the Navy because I insisted that he smile for my picture.”
Montgomery said she shares their picture with friends and family.
VR Small is the Founder/ CEO of Veteran Women’s Enterprise Center and a proud veteran who said she was shocked to hear of the general’s passing.
“Most importantly, as a Veteran, and as an African American, I am very proud of General Powell’s performance,” she said. “I did not always agree with his positions, but I respected them, and I believe he also respected opposing positions. In my opinion, General Powell led with integrity and honor, and his presence will be thoroughly missed. May he rest in peace, and we continue to pray for his family, friends, and colleagues.”
Powell was devoted to grasping opportunities as well as to confronting the global and regional security challenges of the 21st century. He was at the forefront of the administration’s efforts to advance economic and social development worldwide – in the fight against HIV/AIDS, in the promise of the Millennium Challenge Account, the most significant change in helping needy nations since the Marshall Plan, and in pursuing a freer trading and investment climate world-wide.
Born in New York City on April 5, 1937, Powell was raised in the South Bronx. His parents, Luther and Maud Powell, immigrated to the United States from Jamaica. Powell was educated in New York City public schools, graduating from Morris High School and the City College of New York (CCNY), where he earned his bachelor’s degree in geology. He also participated in ROTC at CCNY and received a commission as an Army second lieutenant upon graduation in June 1958. His further academic achievements include a M.B.A. degree from George Washington University.
Powell is the recipient of numerous U.S. military awards and decorations including the Defense Distinguished Service Medal (with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters), the Army Distinguished Service Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster), Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit (with Oak Leaf Cluster), Soldier’s Medal, Bronze Star Medal, and the Purple Heart.
Powell’s civilian awards include two Presidential Medals of Freedom, the President’s Citizens Medal, the Congressional Gold Medal and the Secretary of Energy Distinguished Service Medal. Over two dozen countries have bestowed awards on him, including a French Legion of Honor and an honorary knighthood bestowed by H.M. Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain.
Powell was the founding Chairman of America’s Promise – The Alliance for Youth, a national crusade to improve the lives of our nation’s youth. Established at the Presidents’ Summit for America’s Future in Philadelphia in April of 1997, and endorsed by every living U.S. President, America’s Promise aims to ensure all children in America have access to the fundamental resources needed to build and strengthen them to be- come responsible, productive adults. He has also been a member of the Board of Trustees of Howard University and the Board of Directors of the United Negro College Fund. Powell also served on the Board of Governors of The Boys & Girls Clubs of America and was a member of the Advisory Board of the Children’s Health Fund.
Since returning to private life, Powell has become a strategic limited partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the renowned Silicon Valley venture capital firm. He is also on the Board of Di- rectors of Revolution Health Care, a company developing strategies for consumer-directed health care. Powell is the Founder of the Colin Powell Policy Center at his alma mater, the City College of New York, and he is helping to raise funds for the Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial in Washington, D.C. and for the construction of an education center for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
Powell is the author of his best-selling autobiography, My American Journey.
Powell is married to the former Alma Vivian Johnson of Birmingham, Alabama. The Powell family includes son Michael; daughters, Linda and Annemarie; daughter-in-law Jane, and grandchildren Jeffrey, Bryan and Abigail.
Some of the many expressions of sympathy and support
DeSoto is saddened to learn of the passing of former United States Secretary of State Colin L. Powell. Secretary Powell, who was born to immigrant parents from Jamaica, was an American success story who proved that anything was possible in this country when someone is given a fair chance to succeed.
Colin Powell served as both our nation’s first African-American Secretary of State and as our first African American Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He also served as a Presidential National Security Advisor. If I had to pick a role model for the children of DeSoto to emulate or give them an example of someone who put his country above all other considerations and served selflessly, Colin Powell would be my choice. He made this country a better and safer place to live and his wisdom, fairness, and his decency will be sorely missed.
— Mayor Rachel L. Proctor, DeSoto, TX,
“Colin Powell’s loss is truly heartbreaking. He will always be remembered as one of the most accomplished, most diplomatic and strategic thinkers of our time. He withstood the critics who questioned his success and constantly challenged his credibility. There will never be anyone to fill his shoes, but his legacy is – and has -inspired so many of us.”
— Neil Foote, President, National Black Public
“Colin Powell was a giant in American culture. Not only did he serve the United States of America at the highest levels in government, he also made African Americans proud that he was a distinguished and honorable gentleman. We will miss his profound and intelligent thoughts on issues America confronts on a daily basis. My prayers go out to his grieving family. He will be sorely missed!”
— Ron Carter, CEO, The Carter Agency
“Leaders are measured by how they take care of their people, even if may cost them something…”
— Ron Harvey, CEO, GCS Consulting, North Carolina
“We lost a superhero today. A man who stood for integrity, honesty, virtue, servant-leadership, and grace.”
— Christopher Plumlee, CEO, Elevate Strategies, Turtle Creek
“General Powell shaped US history and represented himself and Black America in a most distinguished fashion; His influence will be truly missed,” – Reverend Mark Proctor, Dallas
“General Powell’s book was the first military- related book I have ever read. He’s leadership principles and life experiences taught me how to be a better leader, mentor, and person. This quote sticks with me. “ Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.” Gen Powell will be missed as a hero and icon.”
— Jade Fulce, Publicist, Atlanta