Photo credits: Udo Weitz/The Associated Press
The former secretary of state and retired general Colin Powell (pictured) has died at the age of 84. His death comes as unfathomable to many. However, it marks the beginning of the end of an era in U.S. politics.
Powell was an American politician, diplomat, statesman, and four-star veteran general. He served as the 65th United States secretary of state from 2001 to 2005. He was the first African-American Secretary of State. Prior to the first-term election of President Barack Obama, Powell and his successor, Condoleezza Rice, were the highest-ranking African Americans in federal executive branch history.
Powell was born in New York City in 1937 to Jamaican immigrants. He was raised in the South Bronx. He graduated from the City College of New York with a bachelor’s degree in geology. He also participated in ROTC at CCNY and received a commission as a second lieutenant in the Army upon graduation in 1958.
One of Powell’s most prominent assignments was serving as the 12th chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (the highest military position in the Department of Defense) from October 1989 to September 1993. Powell was the first black chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff commission. He oversaw 28 crises during this time, including the invasion of Panama in 1989 and Operation Desert Storm in the Persian Gulf War against Iraq in 1990–1991.
Powell published his autobiography, My American Journey, in 1995, and another book, It Worked for Me: Lessons in Life and Leadership during his retirement (2012).
He pursued a career as a public speaker and motivated audiences across the United States and internationally. Powell was the chairman of America’s Promise – The Alliance for Youth, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to organizing people from every sector of American life to enhance the character and competency of young people, prior to his appointment as Secretary of State.
The former war hero received various military awards and decorations from the United States and other countries. Presidential Medal of Freedom (twice), Congressional Gold Medal, Presidential Citizens Medal, Secretary of State Distinguished Service Medal, and Secretary of Energy Distinguished Service Medal were among his civilian honors.
Powell was awarded with honorary degrees from universities and colleges around the country, and several schools. Great institutions were named after him. He won three electoral votes from Washington for President of the United States in 2016, despite not being a candidate in that year’s election. Powell died of COVID-19 complications on October 18, 2021, while undergoing treatment for blood cancer.
According to various news sources, Powell was fully vacinated. Anti-vaxer activists, pro-vaxing talking heads, liberal Democrtic opponents of the 2003 Iraq war, and conservative media traitors alike have all had their vulturous hungers satisfied — in the short time that has elapsed since his death. But everyone will die one day and not a soul walking this Earth lacks major flaws.
Nonetheless, there will never be a soul as brave as General C. L. Powell, a black man whose legacy may one day transcend some of the founding fathers of this nation.