Reactions to the Passing of Colin Powell

Colin Powell when he was lieutenant general, Sept. 5, 1986.

By Aliya Kuykendall Published on October 18, 2021

The family of Colin Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, announced Monday morning his death from complications of COVID-19. They noted that he was fully vaccinated. Powell is known for being the first Black U.S. secretary of state, helping lead the U.S. military during the Gulf War and helping to shape U.S. foreign policy.

You can read The Stream full obituary here: “A Hero Lost: General-Turned-Diplomat Colin Powell Passes Away at Age 84”

Reactions to the passing of this important figure in American history have been pouring in since news of his death.

President George W. Bush released a statement, noting that Collin earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom twice:

Laura and I are deeply saddened by the death of Colin Powell. He was a great public servant, starting with his time as a soldier during Vietnam. Many Presidents relied on General Powell’s counsel and experience. He was National Security Adviser under President Reagan, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under my father and President Clinton, and Secretary of State during my Administration. He was such a favorite of Presidents that he earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom – twice. He was highly respected at home and abroad. And most important, Colin was a family man and a friend. Laura and I send Alma and their children our sincere condolences as they remember the life of a great man.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney released a statement saying “Colin was a trailblazer and role model for so many.”

I’m deeply saddened to learn that America has lost a leader and statesman. General Powell had a remarkably distinguished career, and I was fortunate to work with him. He was a man who loved his country and served her long and well.

Working with him during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, I saw first-hand General Powell’s dedication to the United States and his commitment to the brave and selfless men and women who serve our country in uniform. Colin was a trailblazer and role model for so many: the son of immigrants who rose to become National Security Advisor, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and Secretary of State.

Lynne and I extend our prayers and profound condolences to his wife, Alma, and to their children. His legacy and unparalleled record of service will never be forgotten.

Colin Powell and COVID-19 Vaccination Status

Collin’s death from COVID-19 and his vaccination status have become a topic of reactions:

World Leaders React as Well

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said he was “wonderful to work with” and “was one of those leaders who always treated those under them with kindness and concern.”

Colin was a towering figure in American military and political leadership over many years, someone of immense capability and integrity, a hugely likeable and warm personality and a great companion, with a lovely and self-deprecating sense of humour. He was wonderful to work with, he inspired loyalty and respect and was one of those leaders who always treated those under them with kindness and concern. His life stands as a testament not only to dedicated public service but also a strong belief in willingness to work across partisan division in the interests of his country. I am so sorry to hear the news of his death. He still had so much to give. My thoughts and prayers are Alma and all his large and loving extended family.


Aliya Kuykendall is a staff writer and proofreader for The Stream. You can follow Aliya on Twitter @AliyaKuykendall and follow The Stream @Streamdotorg. 

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