Jill and I are deeply saddened by the passing of our dear friend and patriot of unparalleled honor and dignity, General Colin Powell.
The son of immigrants, born in New York, raised in Harlem and the South Bronx, a graduate of City College in New York, he rose through the top ranks of the US military and advised four presidents. He believed in America’s promise because he lived it. And he’s dedicated a great part of his life to making this promise a reality for so many others.
As a senator, I worked closely with him when he served as National Security Advisor, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Secretary of State. In our many years of working together – even at odds – Colin has always been someone who gave you the best of himself and treated you with respect.
Colin embodied the highest ideals of the warrior and the diplomat. He was committed to the strength and security of our nation above all else. Having fought in wars, he understood better than anyone that military might alone was not enough to maintain our peace and prosperity. From his vision of leading history, advising presidents and shaping our country’s policies, Colin has led with his personal commitment to the democratic values that make our country strong. Time and time again, he’s put the country ahead of himself, before the party, before everything else – in uniform and on the go – and that has earned him the universal respect of the American people.
Having repeatedly broken racial barriers, paving the way for others to serve the federal government, Colin has made a lifelong commitment to investing in the next generation of leaders. Whether it is through his attention to the women and men who serve under his command and to the diplomats he leads, or through the work he shares with his wife Alma at the America’s Promise Alliance in raising the young, or through his years as the head of the Eisenhower Fellowships, Colin’s leadership always included a focus on the future.
Above all, Colin was my friend. Easy to share a laugh with. A confident confidant in good times and in difficult times. He could drive his Corvette Stingray like nothing had happened – something I learned firsthand on the race track when I was vice president. And I am eternally grateful for his support for my candidacy for the presidency and for our common fight for the soul of the nation. I will miss being able to call upon his wisdom in the future.
Jill and I send all of our love and strength to Alma, their children, Linda, Annemarie and Michael, their grandchildren and the entire Powell family. Our nation weeps with you.
Colin Powell was a good man.
He will be remembered as one of our great Americans.