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Leaving a Lasting Legacy

Perhaps one of the biggest inspirations in our history for equal rights was Colin Powell. He was appointed Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President George H. W. Bush. Then, he went on to become the first African-American secretary of state under President George W. Bush. Colin Powell was a symbol of excellence. He dedicated his life to serving something bigger than himself. Starting with his service in the Vietnam War, he then worked his way up in the military and became the man that we all knew. Some people may not have agreed with his political views, but take that away and we can all see the values and traits of a leader. He upheld American democracy through his honor, respect, and dignity. 

Colin Powell’s career began with his service in the military. He started his training in college when he joined the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, and he loved it. It was his calling to be a part of the military and serve his country. When he began his military service in Georgia, he experienced racial discrimination. At the time Powell joined the military, it had only recently been desegregated, and tensions were still high. He presented himself, even when he received hate, with dignity and professionalism. His ability to rise above the disrespect of others represents the qualities of a remarkable soldier. He served from 1958-1993. While serving his tour in Vietnam, he stepped onto a spike and injured his leg. Because of his ability to rise above the injury in the service of his country he was awarded the Purple Heart award. In the military, the Purple Heart is awarded to soldiers who are injured in combat. Throughout his military career, Colin Powell earned a number of other awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Bronze Star. He worked his way up through the rank of the military to eventually becoming the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest-ranking military official in government, second only to the Secretary of Defense and President. 

Powell served as the National Security Advisor under president Ronal Reagan from 1987-1989, and then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs under President George H. W. Bush from October 1, 1989, to September 30, 1993. When he completed his term as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs he was released from public service until 2001 when President George W. Bush appointed him as the first African-American Secretary of State. He served valiantly under the Bush administration and led the State Department with honor. His judgment, experience, and knowledge led him to be one of the best Secretaries of State in United States history. Colin Powell showed every American that it is possible to attack and defeat the challenges and boundaries in the way of someone’s success. Through his work ethic and determination, he was able to beat the battles of combat and discrimination, and leave a lasting legacy as an American hero.

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