Tributes are pouring in following the death of former Secretary of State, General Colin Powell. This includes President Joe Biden, who ordered government flags to fly at half-staff through Friday.
President Biden issued a statement saying, “Colin Powell was a good man. He will be remembered as one of our great Americans.”
Powell’s family announced the 84-year-old died Monday morning following complications from Covid. He was fully vaccinated, but had an aggressive form of cancer, putting him more at risk for the deadly virus.
Powell was born in New York City to Jamaican immigrant parents. That’s something New York Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke about Monday, saying Powell showed that all New Yorkers have the power to be great. ”What we all feel as New Yorkers is he was ours he was an example of the greatness of New York City a absolutely classic New York City story,” de Blasio said.
While born in New York City, Powell spent the past 50 years living in the DC area, making friends on both sides of the aisle.
”I feel as if I have a hole in my heart just learning of this just recently. He was the first African-American chairman of the Joint Chiefs, first African-American Secretary of State and a man who was respected around the globe. Quite frankly, it is not possible to replace a Colin Powell. We will miss him,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said shortly following Powell’s death.
Powell, previously a Republican, served under several presidents. Powell started his presidential service doing a fellowship under President Richard Nixon. From there, Powell became the first Black NSA Advisor under President Ronald Reagan. Powell then served as the youngest-ever Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President George H.W. Bush and President Bill Clinton, ending his presidential service as the first Black Secretary of State under President George W Bush.
Following his death, current Secretary of State Antony Blinken praised Powell.
“He was a man of ideas, but he wasn’t ideological. He was constantly listening, learning, adapting. He could admit mistakes. It was just another example of his integrity,” Blinken said. “I was a huge admirer of Secretary Powell. I always will be.”
“Colin Powell dedicated his extraordinary life to public service because he believed in America. And we believe in America in no small part because it helped produce someone like Colin Powell. Thank you, Mr. Secretary,” Blinken said, closing his remarks.
Those sentiments were echoed by Madeleine Albright, who served as Secretary of State just before Powell.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Powell’s reach extended beyond America, issuing a statement.
Members of Congress also paid their respects.
”Colin Powell was an American icon. I had the privilege of knowing him for many years and he was a military leader and highly respected diplomat,” Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said Monday.
Republican Congressman Peter Meijer (R-MI) also tweeted his support.
Utah Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) shared his condolances.
The Powell family has yet to announce funeral plans.