Patriotism Is Not Partisan
On January 7th, 2021, Colin Powell said the events of the preceding day were a “national disgrace.” His words echoed what many of us felt on that Wednesday morning waking in the fog of war. He spoke for Americans mourning an attack on Democracy. He spoke as a veteran of the Vietnam War, Four Star General, former Secretary of State, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Passing today at 84, Powell spent more than half his life serving his country. He was born in Harlem and joined the military in 1958 serving two tours in Vietnam. He was a Purple Heart Recipient. He served his country not as a partisan politician, but as a patriot. He chose to protect the Constitution over his personal safety as a young man and his country over political party as an elder statesman.
Today is a time to check our politics at the door. When Lieutenant Powell lay his life on the line for his men in Vietnam, he did not see them as Republicans and Democrats. He saw them as soldiers looking to him for leadership. Powell served both Democratic and Republican Presidents. But, above all, he served America.
Patriotism is not partisan. One is not born Democrat or Republican. Each of us lives a
life, informed by circumstances and events that shape our political ideology. It is often far too hard to separate who we are from what we believe. Colin Powell did that. He was a man born of Harlem, who became a citizen of the world. He bled for the United States of America. He was human and he made mistakes. But, he always put his love of nation above love of self.
Check your politics at the door. Today, we pay homage to an American Hero. He was one of the best of us. How we respond at this moment will determine if we can live up to his legacy.