By George J. Dunmore
CALL Contributing Writer
LEAVENWORTH, Kas. — Representatives from most black organizations in the Kansas City area gathered at Fort Leavenworth on Friday, Sept. 5, as a bronze bust of retired General and former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell was unveiled and dedicated at the Circle of Firsts, Buffalo Soldier Monument.
Even though officials had expected a large turnout despite predictions of rain, programs for the event became a collector’s item as over 1,000 persons turned out to honor one of this country’s most respected persons and the program bearing his picture were all distributed long before the start of the event.
For over 50 years, Powell has devoted his life to public service. He has held senior military and diplomatic positions across four presidential administrations.
Powell was born in Harlem in April 1937 and raised in the South Bronx. He was educated in the New York City public schools and after graduating from Morris High school, attended the City College of New York, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology. It was not until he joined the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps program at CCNY that he discovered his calling and launched his military career. He received a commission as an Army second lieutenant upon graduation in 1958 and went on to serve in the United States Army for 35 years, rising to the rank of four-star General.
Powell served as President Ronald Reagan’s National Security Advisor. He served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for both President George H.W. Bush and for President Bill Clinton. He was the youngest officer and first ROTC graduate to ever serve in the position and the first African American.
Under President George W. Bush, Powell was appointed the 65th Secretary of State and was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate.