| 21 May 2024, Tuesday |

Biden, ex-presidents join together for Colin Powell’s funeral

Colin Powell, was eulogized on Friday at a Washington ceremony attended by current and former presidents, dignitaries and family.
The former top US diplomat who smashed barriers for Black Americans, died from COVID-19-complications Oct. 18 at the age of 84. He was fully vaccinated, but reports say he was battling blood cancer making him highly susceptible to the coronavirus.
President Joe Biden, and former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush were on hand, but noticeably absent was Donald Trump who sharply criticized him after his death. Former President Bill Clinton was also notably absent, but he was recently released from a hospital where he was being treated for an infection.
Michael Powell, Colin Powell’s son, eulogized his father, saying the example set by the statesman and military leader “does not call on us to emulate his resume.”
“It is to emulate his character and his example as a human being. We can strive to do that. We can choose to be good,” said the junior Powell.
Powell was a Vietnam war veteran who went on to become one of the most prominent Black Americans in politics as he broke multiple barriers in his decades-spanning military and public service careers.
He was the first Black secretary of state, serving under former President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2005 when the US embarked on its campaigns against Iraq and Afghanistan.
It was Powell’s 2003 speech before the UN Security Council in which have made the case for the Iraqi invasion, presenting evidence he said proved former Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein was in possession of a rogue weapons of mass destruction program.
“My colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources,” he said on Feb. 5, 2003. “These are not assertions. What we’re giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence.”
The speech served as a major pillar for the US’s invasion of the country, but no weapons of mass destruction were ever discovered, and the claim has been widely debunked.
It is widely regarded as a low-point of Powell’s career, and he would go on to describe it as a “blot” on his record.
“I’m the one who presented it on behalf of the United States to the world, and [it] will always be a part of my record,” Powell told ABC News in 2005. “It was painful. It’s painful now.”
Prior to assuming the top spot at the State Department, Powell served as George H. W. Bush’s national security advisor from 1987 to 1989, and was the first Black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1989 to 1993.
A lifelong Republican, Powell grew progressively disillusioned with the party later in life, and would go on to help Democrats win office, including his endorsement of Biden in his successful campaign against Trump.