WASHINGTON – Colin Powell, former US Secretary of State and Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, was remembered on Friday as both a skilled military leader and diplomat and a warm and caring colleague, friend and father during a memorial service at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC.
SE: Colin Powell’s funeral
Powell died last month at the age of 84 from complications associated with covid-19. Those who gathered to remember him were US President Joe Biden; former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama; former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
President Biden and the former presidents and first ladies all sat together in a single bench in front of the cathedral.
President Joe Biden, First Lady Jill Biden, former President Barack Obama, former First Lady Michelle Obama, and former President George W. Bush are attending a funeral service for former Secretary of State Colin Powell at Washington National Cathedral.
Richard Armitage, who served under Powell at the State Department as Deputy Secretary of State and had known him since serving together in the Pentagon, spoke of Powell’s natural leadership ability, as well as his warmth and humanity.
Armitage said that although they shared many things, they did not always agree on music. He said that Powell was a lover of the Swedish pop group ABBA and once, as Minister of Foreign Affairs, sang the whole song “Mama Mia” for the Swedish ambassador. An instrumental version of the group’s song “Dancing Queen” was played on Friday as people entered the cathedral.
Former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage praises former Secretary of State Colin Powell at Washington National Cathedral in Washington on November 5, 2021.
Former United States Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Powell’s immediate predecessor as the country’s top diplomat, remembered the general and statesman as one of the warmest and kindest individuals she has ever met. She said Powell rejected political exaggeration and only cared about achieving results. “He made pragmatism charismatic,” Albright said.
Finally, Powell’s son, Michael, described his father’s journey as the son of Jamaican immigrants who reached the pinnacle of power, as “an American journey.” He described his father as “a big lion with a big heart”, and wondered if this is still a country where his species can flourish again.
Michael Powell touches the coffin of his father, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, as he goes to give a praise during a funeral service at Washington National Cathedral, November 5, 2021, in Washington. President Joe Biden is watching.
The younger Powell said, “I hope we commit again to becoming a nation that is still doing its thing.”