Former Secretary of State Colin Powell Dies at 84

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In the coming days there will be many words used to describe General Colin Powell – Soldier, advisor, trailblazer, and leader, to mention a few, but perhaps none more important to him than father and husband.

The world learned Monday morning that the 84-year-old Colin Powell had died of complications from COVID-19. His wife Alma and three children made the announcement via a post on social media. The family statement noted that Powell had been fully vaccinated and had been treated at the Walter Reed National Medical Center.

Multiple major news outlets cited Powell as having multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer that suppresses immunity.

The statement read in part, “We want to thank the medical staff at Walter Reed National Medical Center for their caring treatment.” It continued, “We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American.”

Born on April 5, 1937 in Harlem, New York to Jamaican immigrants, Powell would be raised in the South Bronx and attend City College. It was there he found ROTC and discovered his purpose and direction.

Powell was a professional soldier, serving 35 years in the military, rising to its highest rank.
President Ronald Regan would call upon Powell to serve as his national security advisor. Other president would also benefit from his wisdom, including George H.W. Bush, who tapped Powell for chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and George W. Bush called upon Powell to serve as secretary of state. In each case, becoming a trailblazer and breaking the color barrier.

Powell, a lifelong Republican, would break with the GOP in his later years. In 2008 he even endorsed Democrat Barback Obama for president. He also endorsed Hillary Rodham Clinton and Joe Biden over Donald Trump who he called “a national disgrace” with “no sense of shame.”

In a statement, George W. Bush said he was “deeply saddened” by news of Powell’s death.
“He was such a favorite of presidents that he earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom — twice,” Bush continued. “He was highly respected at home and abroad. And most important, Colin was a family man and a friend.”

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, the nation’s first Black defense secretary, reflected on Powell’s death on social media, “It will be impossible to replace Gen. Colin Powell. He was a tremendous personal friend and mentor to me, and there’s a hole in my heart right now as I think about his loss. My thoughts and prayers today are with his family, and I want them to know I will miss him dearly.”

Austin would later put out a formal statement saying, “In and out of uniform, he earned the trust of U.S. presidents, foreign leaders, diplomats, and the American people. As Secretary of State, Colin Powell advanced U.S. values of democracy, diversity, and freedom all around the world. “And through his philanthropic work, this son of immigrants raised in the South Bronx set out to expand opportunity for young people, helping them find something they do well and love doing, just as he had found in the U.S. military.

“While we mourn his loss, we also honor the profound imprint that Colin Powell has left on the United States. Generations of young leaders will continue to look to his example and his character as the foundation for their own success.

“It is difficult to overstate the difference he made. I counted him among my best mentors and friends, and this news has left a hole in my heart.

“There will never be another Colin Powell. He made history. He made the country he loved a safer, better place. And we will forever be grateful for his leadership.”

In an interview with Susan Porcaro Goings at the National Conference of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America in 2013 Colin Powell said, “My life has been blessed because I have had a chance to serve my country, and I’ve had a chance to do things that have benefited my country. And when it’s all over, I just hope that they say, ‘he was a good soldier, he raised a good family, and God bless him.’ That’s all I ask for.”

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