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Michael Powell’s Final Thoughts For His Father, General Colin Powell

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb
The Truth Network Radio
May 22, 2024 3:01 am

Michael Powell’s Final Thoughts For His Father, General Colin Powell

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

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May 22, 2024 3:01 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, a funeral service was held on Nov. 5, 2021 for General Colin Powell at the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. Powell died from COVID-19 complications amid an ongoing battle with cancer. He was 84. Here’s his son Michael speaking at his father’s funeral service.

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18 plus terms and conditions apply. See website for details. And we continue with our American stories. A funeral service was held on November 5th, 2021 for General Colin Powell at the Washington National Cathedral in Washington DC. Powell died from COVID-19 complications amid an ongoing battle with cancer. He was 84.

Here's his son Michael speaking at his father's funeral service. My sisters and I were raised under the stars. The stars of the story, General, we eulogize today. Dad was famous for his 13 rules but our family life was unregimented. No morning revelry or marching drills.

It was a warm and joyous and loving home anchored by our strong and graceful mother Alma. Our parents taught us right. They taught us wrong and they taught us to take responsibility for our actions and never to blame others.

Disappointing them was the worst punishment you could imagine. My father is frequently remembered as a problem solver while his solutions to world problems may have been elegant. His fixes around the house were a bit more kludgy.

He believed he could cheaply fix anything with a little duct tape, some wire, and a can of spray paint. He'd even proposed a solution for a non-existent problem just to satisfy his curiosity about how something worked. Like the time in high school he decided that my cherished 1962 Chevy Impala was making a noise.

It definitely was not making a noise. Nonetheless he pursued the phantom sound by pulling the engine, something he had never done before. He spent a whole weekend hanging chain and hoisting the engine and messing with who knows what. When he put it back together and started it the car whopped like a helicopter. We rushed to the door and saw him backing out of the driveway with a big proud smile on his face but that smile faded quickly when he shifts the car into drive and it would never go forward again. But he was always thinking so he donated the car to the local fire department.

To get it there he literally drove the car backwards on public roads for three miles smiling at astonished drivers along the way. His zest for life derived from his endless passion for people. He was genuinely interested in everyone he met.

He loved a hot dog vendor, a bank teller, a janitor, and a student as much as any world leader. Not long ago he was driving his Corvette on the beltway and got a flat tire. A young disabled veteran saw him and pulled over to help. With the tire fixed the young vet sheepishly asked if he could take a quick selfie but my dad took time to ask about his family and his friends and his life, something no Instagram moment could ever uncover. A few days later to thank him for his help my father invited the vet and his entire family over to the house for dinner.

Colin Powell was a great leader because he was a great follower. He knew you could not ask your troops to do anything you were unwilling to do yourself. One time I was walking into the PX with my dad. We came upon a corporal saluting a captain over and over again. My father walked up and asked this captain what he was doing. The captain replied, sir this corporal failed to salute me so I'm making him salute me a hundred times. My dad said that's fine but you make darn sure you salute him back every single time.

The exchange of salutes is a sign of mutual respect. He loved the troops with all his heart. The morning I was flying to Germany for my first assignment as a new army officer he came into my room to say goodbye.

He leaned over and kissed me on the cheek and whispered gently take care of our soldiers. Countless people have benefited from his mentorship. He could offer weighty wisdom in a few choice words. I recall when I was chairman of the FCC and having a very rough go in the press I emailed him and asked maybe I should consider stepping down.

The response was swift. Powell's don't quit. People will long forget the issues you're dealing with. They will never forget how you conduct yourself. In the road to character David Brooks draws a distinction between resume virtues and eulogy virtues. Resume virtues are your achievements and your skills. Eulogy virtues are those discussed at your funeral. The ones that exist at the core of your being whether you are kind brave honest or faithful. This person has a quiet but solid sense of right and wrong not only to do good but to be good. He wants to love intimately to sacrifice self in the service of others and to live in obedience to some transcendent trust. That was my father. The example of Colin Powell does not call on us to emulate his resume which is too formidable for mere mortals. 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. One of my most powerful memories comes from holding my dad's hand. I was hurt very badly and lying in an ICU bed following a bad accident. It was the middle of the night yet my father was by my side after a long day of work. I was squirming in pain and anguish. Without a word he just took my hand and squeezed it with a father's love.

It instantly relaxed and put me at peace. The last night of his life I walked in to see him. Now he was the one lying in ICU bed. He could not see or speak to me so I took his hand just as he had taken mine decades before.

I knew everything was not going to be okay. I wanted him to be at peace but again I felt my father's love in that hand. That hand that took my mother's hand in matrimony. That hand that held me as a baby. That hand that signed report cards, tossed baseballs and fixed old cars. That hand that signed treaties and war orders, saluted service members and just for joyfully whilst telling a story. That hand is still now but it left a deep imprint on the lives of family and dear friends, soldiers and sailors, presidents and prime ministers and a generation of aspiring young people.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said that the purpose of life is not to be happy it is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well. My father made a monumental difference. He lived. He lived well. I've heard it asked are we still making his kind?

I believe the answer to that question is up to us. To honor his legacy I hope we do more than consign him to the history books. I hope we recommit ourselves to being a nation where we are still making his kind. For as he said in his autobiography his journey was an American journey. Colin Powell was a great lion with a big heart. We will miss him terribly. And you've been listening to Michael Powell eulogize his father and what words.

There was no morning revelry or marching drills in our house. Our parents taught us right from wrong, taught us to take responsibility for our actions. Disappointing them was the worst punishment you could imagine. He was a great leader because he was a great follower Michael pointed out and he loved the troops with all his heart. That story of that saluting commanding officer what a rebuke.

What a cautionary tale. What words of wisdom and boy did that reveal Powell's character about power and rank and what its purpose is. And last but not least that image of his dad's hands. In all the different ways his hands his heart affected so many people he came in contact with.

We say here on the show that there are two kinds of eulogies and they're the kind in which a son or a daughter delivers that kind of message about a parent and the ones that don't. The life of Colin Powell an American journey here on Our American Stories. I'm Katja Adler host of The Global Story. Over the last 25 years I've covered conflicts in the Middle East, political and economic crises in Europe, drug cartels in Mexico. Now I'm covering the stories behind the news all over the world in conversation with those who break it.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-22 04:23:48 / 2024-05-22 04:28:25 / 5

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