by Robert Burns and Matthew Lee | The Associated Press
WASHINGTON – Friends, family and former colleagues at the Washington National Cathedral on Friday at the Colin L. Powell, the leading military-diplomat who rose from humble Bronx beginnings to become the first black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and later served as the first. Black Secretary of State.
The funeral on a sunny and chilly day attracted dignitaries and friends from a wide political and military spectrum. These included former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, former Secretary of State James Baker, Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and the current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army General Mark Milley, as well as others. service chiefs.
As guests gathered in the cavernous cathedral, which hosted the funerals of several former presidents, including Dwight D. Eisenhower, the US Army brass quintet played a variety of tunes, including “Dancing Queen” by Powell’s favorite Abba. also includes. As Powell’s wife, Alma, and other family members sat down, the quintet played a hymn called “Lord’s Mansion”.
President Joe Biden attended but was not scheduled to speak. Two recent presidents did not attend – Bill Clinton, who is recovering from an infection, and Donald Trump, who was criticized by Powell.
The eulogist was Madeleine Albright, Powell’s immediate predecessor as the country’s top diplomat; Richard Armitage, who was deputy secretary under Powell and had known him since they had simultaneously served in the Pentagon during the Reagan administration; and Powell’s son Michael.
During his tenure as ambassador to the United Nations during the Clinton administration, Albright occasionally clashed with Powell, although they became good friends. The two recalled the time during their final months as chairman of the Joint Chiefs, when they argued for US military intervention in the Balkans, asking why the United States had built a brilliant army if such Under the circumstances it could not be used. Powell recalled being deeply irritated by her statement, “I thought I would have an aneurysm.”
Powell was of the view that the United States should commit its military only if it had a clear and achievable political objective, a key element known as the Powell Doctrine, which drew lessons from the American failure in Vietnam. Lessons to be learned.
Powell died on October 18 at the age of 84 from complications of COVID-19. He was vaccinated against the coronavirus, but his family said his immune system was compromised by multiple myeloma, a blood cancer for which he was undergoing treatment.
Those attending the funeral were required to wear masks on Friday, although not all did.
The story of Powell’s rise in American life is a historical example for many.
In his autobiography, “My American Journey”, Powell recounts a post-Depression Era childhood in the Hunts Point section of New York City’s South Bronx, where he was a mediocre student – happy-go-lucky but aimless.
He caught the military bug in 1954 during his first year at the City College of New York. Powell was inspired by seeing fellow students in uniform, and enrolled in the school’s Reserve Officer Training Corps.
“I felt distinctive”, in uniform, he wrote. He would go on to excel in a pioneering Army career.
Although he was only 4 years old when the United States entered World War II, he had vivid memories of the war years. “I deployed the soldiers of the major troop and directed the battle on the living room rug,” he wrote—a fictional forerunner of his military years.
Powell would serve 35 years in uniform. Commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1958, he served as a platoon leader in what was then called West Germany, and in 1962 posted to Vietnam for a year as an adviser to a South Vietnamese infantry battalion it was done. He was injured during that tour; He made a second tour in Vietnam in 1968 and later did a variety of assignments at home and abroad.
He distinguished himself in the Pentagon even before attaining the rank of Flag Officer. In the late 1970s he served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and in 1983 as Brigadier General he became Senior Military Assistant to Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger. He later served as National Security Advisor to President Ronald Reagan at the White House and was promoted to a four-star general in 1989. Later that year, President George HW Bush elected him as chairman of the Joint Chiefs.
At the time of the announcement of Powell’s death, former President George W. Bush said, “He was such a favorite of presidents that he twice earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom.”
It was an amazing American dream trip that earned her international acclaim and trust.
He put that credibility at stake in February 2003, when, appearing before the United Nations as Secretary of State, he made a case for war against Iraq. When it was revealed that the intelligence he cited was faulty and the Iraq War turned into a bloody, chaotic nightmare, Powell’s stellar reputation was damaged.
Yet it was not destroyed. After leaving the government, he became a prominent politician on the global stage and the founder of an organization aimed at helping young underprivileged Americans. Republicans wanted him to run for president. After becoming disillusioned with his party, he turned to the last three Democratic presidential candidates, who welcomed his support.
Powell’s influence was felt at the highest levels of the US defense establishment long after he retired from public life. Lloyd Austin, who became the first black secretary of defense in January, called Powell a friend and professional mentor. Like Powell, Austin rose through the ranks of the Army to become a four-star general.
On the day of Powell’s death, Austin called him “one of the greatest leaders we have ever seen”.