Colin Powell was born in New York City in 1937 to Jamaican parents. He attended public schools in New York and earned a geology degree from the City College of New York, where he participated in ROTC. He was commissioned an Army second lieutenant when he graduated in 1958 and served as a professional solider for 35 years. He was named Commander of the US Army Forces Command in 1989 and was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1989 to 1993. He was the author of the Powell Doctrine, a limitation on US military action unless it meets certain requirements of national security interests, overwhelming force, and broad public support.
He was named the first Black Secretary of State by President George W. Bush, but due to inaccuracies in a speech given to the United Nations as rationale for the Iraq War, Powell was forced to resign in 2004. During his career, Powell received many US and foreign military and civilian awards, including twice winning the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Gold Medal, the Presidential Citizens Medal, and the Secretary’s Distinguished Service Award. He died in 2021.
Here are a few famous Colin Powell Quotes:
- “Always focus on the front windshield and not the rearview mirror.”
- “Don’t bother people for help without first trying to solve the problem yourself.”
- “No battle plan survives contact with the enemy.”
- “Organization charts and fancy titles count for next to nothing.”
- “It’s a disgrace that we have millions of people who are uninsured.”
- “Never let your ego get so close to your position that when your position goes, your ego goes with it.”
- “If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.”
- “The chief condition on which, life, health and vigor depend on, is action. It is by action that an organism develops its faculties, increases its energy, and attains the fulfillment of its destiny.”
- “War should be the politics of last resort.”
- “Just as they did in Philadelphia when they were writing the constitution, sooner or later, you’ve got to compromise. You’ve got to start making the compromises that arrive at a consensus and move the country forward.”