"The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example" (Disraeli); a fitting quote for such a deserving man as General Colin Powell. Born on April 5, 1937, Colin Powell arose from humble beginnings. Raised on the backstreets of Harlem, New York, Powell was never accustomed to getting what he wanted. But with an improving family and financial situation, he was able to join the military shortly after his seventeenth birthday. At first glance, no one expected him to amount to anything. Now serving in the government as a retired four-star army general with a wife and three children, Powell has earned the respect of many. All of his life's experiences have shaped Powell into the extraordinary leader, father, and man he is today. Through his humility and acts of honor and bravery, Colin Powell shows he deserves to wear the title "hero."
During Powell's military career, he constantly displayed his bravery in situations that tested his courage. During his first tour in Vietnam in 1963: "he injured his foot in a punji-stick trap" (Stevenson). Despite being injured, he pushed through it and finished his tour. He shows people that although things happen that we may not expect, it's not an excuse to give up and stop trying. It's just one more reason to get back up. Powell was good at this: "He returned to Vietnam in 1968 for a second tour of duty as an executive officer with the US Army infantry. Powell was injured a second time when he rescued a number of soldiers from the burning wreckage of a helicopter crash" (Stevenson). Although the fear of getting reinjured may have still been in the back of his mind, Powell embarked on his second tour without question. Although he was indeed reinjured, his own pain was an afterthought while his comrades were in danger. Powell won numerous awards for his bravery, but his act of valiance came from his selflessness and his eagerness to assist others, not the promise of a medal. Colin Powell's courage sets the bar for everyone else to live up to.
is an extremely honorable man who respects his family and his personal values.
It all started with his parents: "Integrity, kindness, and Godliness, they
taught us, were right. Lying, violence, intolerance, crime, and drugs were
wrong and, even worse than wrong, in my family, they were shameful" (Online
NewsHour). Powell's parents raised him very well. They taught him right from
wrong and made sure he knew how to conduct himself. The qualities his parents
engrained into him while growing up have stuck with him throughout the rest of
his life so far. His strong family base has led Powell to many great things. In
1996: "Powell was named to the Howard University board of trustees. For several
years, he was active as the chairman of 'America's Promise, the Alliance for
Youth,' an organization committed to promoting community service and addressing
the social issues facing America's youth" (Stevenson). Powell is not only an
important figure in the military and government; he is also active in the
community. His efforts to help the youth of the country understand society
assist in the proper education of young children. His actions are perfect
examples of checking your priorities and finding out what's really important in
life. Powell constantly illustrates his well-rounded character, proving,
without trying, that he is a man to be respected.
Despite all of his glorious accomplishments, Powell remains
a humble, self-confident man. He always stuck to his guns. He: "refused several
jobs in the new administration, including director of the Central Intelligence
Agency. Preferring to remain in the Army, he was promoted to general and put in
charge of the Army Forces Command" (Jacobs). Powell could have accepted many prestigious jobs in the
government, but he turned them down, preferring to remain in the army to assist
his country first-hand. He felt like that was where his services were most
useful, so he stayed. This shows his allegiance to his country and that that's
what he was fighting for, not his own personal glory. He has accomplished so
much, but: "As an adult and a successful career officer looking back on his
youth, Colin Powell seems to give most of the credit for his achievements to his
parents and his extended family. They provided the home life and the
opportunities that made him want to do well" (Colin Powell Biography Today). Just listen to that. This
man is the proud owner of 20 medals of achievement, and he talks as though he
had no part in his reception of them. His attitude is encouraging for other
people and makes them feel good about themselves. Powell's humility is a key
component to the wonderful personality he has developed.
Humility, honor and bravery seem to only exist in storybook
legends. For Colin Powell,
however, they were the fundamental values that established him as a man early
on and are still the driving forces of his character today. All of these noble
traits are the result of strong friends, a good heart, and a loving, supportive
family. "We were taught that hard work and education were the keys to success
in this country. My sister and I were taught to believe in ourselves. We might
be considered poor, but we were rich in spirit" (Online NewsHour). Powell always
has a good attitude and is a prime example of what people should consider a
hero. He inspires me to be the best person I can be, stay true to myself, and
never seek the recognition of others. "Don't let your ego get too close to your position, so
that if your position gets shot down, your ego doesn't go with it" (Colin
Powell Quotes). Powell is a truly remarkable person. His leadership, perseverance, and
work ethic promote the growth of his juniors, and inspire all to remember his
great name, and inherit his example.
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Powell Quotes - BrainyQuote." Famous
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Century (2008): 1. Biography Reference Center. Web. 14 Dec.
NewsHour: Convention Speeches -- General Colin Powell -- August 12,
PBS: Public Broadcasting Service.
Web. 14 Dec. 2011. >.
Keira. "Colin Powell." Colin
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14 Dec. 2011.