Mid-South leaders remember former Secretary of State Colin Powell

Published: Oct. 18, 2021 at 5:34 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A man known to many as an American hero has died.

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell passed away Monday morning at age 84.

In a statement, his family said he died “due to complications from COVID-19.”

General Colin L. Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, passed away this...

Posted by General Colin L. Powell on Monday, October 18, 2021

Powell severed under President George W. Bush as the 65th U.S. Secretary of State and was the first African American to hold that position.

He was also the nation’s first African-American national security adviser and the first black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Van Turner, president of the NAACP Memphis chapter, says Powell was someone everyone could look up to and an inspiration to the black community.

“Dedication, purpose, integrity, honesty. These are all words that you know can describe General Powell and he definitely set the example,” Turner said.

Mid-South leaders also honoring Powell’s legacy. Governor Asa Hutchinson said, “Our nation has lost a true hero. Secretary Powell dedicated his life to serving our country.”

Senator Marsha Blackburn said, “General Powell was a soldier’s soldier, highly respected by all who wore the uniform. We are grateful for his years of service to our country.”

Congressman David Kustoff expressed his sadness on Powell’s passing, calling him “highly respected.” Of Powell’s legacy, Kustoff said, “his work shaped American policy for years to come.”

Congressman Bennie Thompson said, “Colin Powell was an example of a true patriot. His years of service and endeavors to our country should be honored and not forgotten.”

Congressman Steve Cohen said Powell was superior in every position he held.

“He saw beyond party. He saw issues as human issues and as aspects of American democracy, and he wanted to see American democracy thrive,” Cohen said.

In 1997, Powell came to Memphis to receive the International Freedom Award from the National Civil Rights Museum.

“Make sure that our children understand that we believe in them, that we love them, and that we have created opportunities for them that were unlike any of the opportunities that we saw just a generation ago. And to make sure we give our children the education, the training, the value system, the belief in them and the belief in America that will carry them into the future, but more importantly, that will carry our nation into the future,” Powell said.

Powell’s family says he was fully vaccinated but had multiple myeloma which suppresses the body’s immune response.

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