Colin Powell recently passed away due to complications from COVID-19. Powell also had Parkinson’s and multiple myeloma (a cancer of plasma cells that suppresses the body’s immune response), according to Peggy Cifrino, Powell’s longtime chief of staff. Powell was 84 years old.
Powell was an extraordinary man who dedicated his life to protecting America. He was respected by many and highly touted as a “reluctant warrior.” He was neither a democrat nor a republican because he believed no one should ever let their own opinions get in the way of your position on a subject.
If you’re not too familiar with who Powell was, here are some facts you should know about him.
The New Yorker was the son of immigrants
Powell was born in one of New York City’s five boroughs, Harlem, and raised in the South Bronx. He was a son of Jamaican immigrants, a product of the NYC public school system, and a proud alum of CUNY (the City College of New York).
Powell was the first African-American Secretary of State
Powell was the first Black U.S. Secretary of State. He was a leader in the republican party and helped shape America’s foreign policy, implemented in the last years of the 20th century and the early years of the 21st.
Powell was a husband and father
He married his wife Alma Vivian Johnson in 1962. Together they had three children: son Michael, and daughters Linda and Annemarie.
He was the youngest person and first African-American to be chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
He became the youngest chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President George H.W. Bush in 1989.
Powell served two tours of duty in South Vietnam
He served two combat tours in the Vietnam War and earned three medals for his service. Powell also survived a rampageous plane crash, breaking his ankle. Even though he was on a broken ankle, he still went to save others’ lives; he saved the lives of the Gettys, his chief of staff, and one of the other pilots. After this heroic event, Powell received the Soldier’s Medal for his bravery that day.
He was almost the first Black president of the United States
In the 1996 U.S. presidential election, Powell was lauded as a possible opponent of Bill Clinton with the possibility of capitalizing on a split conservative vote in Iowa and even winning New Hampshire polls for the GOP nomination. Powell declined due to a lack of passion for politics.
Powell was a respected leader
Powell had 13 rules of leadership that he lived by. Throughout his career he shared these rules with many politicians to guide them in their own leadership.
It ain’t as bad as you think! It will look better in the morning.
Get mad then get over it.
Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it.
It can be done.
Be careful what you choose. You may get it.
Don’t let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision.
You can’t make someone else’s choices. You shouldn’t let someone else make yours.
Check small things.
Remain calm. Be kind.
Have a vision. Be demanding.
Don’t take counsel of your fears or naysayers.
Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.
By Jeremiah Griffith, Junior, Noble Academy