Conn. (WTNH) — Colin Powell, the first Black U.S. Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, died Monday morning from complications associated with COVID-19 his family reported. He is being honored across the country and remembered here in Connecticut.
University of New Haven professor, Robert Sanders, met with Powell multiple times. Powell once even stopped by the Boys and Girls Club that Sanders was the chair of. Powell gave his time speaking with all of the kids, the staff, and the neighborhood.
“I’m a retired Naval officer and the Navy has several words that we use to describe what our people should be: honor, courage, and commitment. Powell was each to those and more,” Sanders said.
He added, “We don’t have statesmen right now in America, white or Black, that cross that racial chasm.”
Connecticut’s Black and Puerto Rican Caucus put out a statement Monday afternoon calling General Powell one of the most accomplished Black Americans of our time.
Flags were lowered at the White House and State Department Monday. Gov. Ned Lamont also directed U.S. and state flags in Connecticut to be flown at half-staff until sunset on Friday, Oct. 22. Since no flag should fly higher than the U.S. flag, all other flags, including state, municipal, corporate, or otherwise, should also be lowered.
“Colin Powell served our country admirably for decades on the battlefield, in the political arena, and on the world stage,” Lamont said in a statement. “While we disagreed when it came to the war in Iraq, I never once doubted his patriotism and devotion to the United States. He was a great American who always put his country first, and he will be missed. Annie and I extended our condolences and sympathies to his family.”
Powell died at 84-years-old of COVID despite being fully vaccinated, his family reported. He suffered from Multiple Myeloma, a rare bone marrow cancer known to weaken the immune system.
Yale Cancer Center’s Dr. Natalia Neparidze is an expert in this type of cancer and told News 8 Monday evening the vaccine is important for these patients, but it’s not as effective for them.
“Vaccination definitely helps people, but it only helps some patients with multiple myeloma will be able to generate adequate in terms of an effective antibody.”
Doctors say Powell’s death demonstrates the importance of vaccinating everyone against the COVID-19 virus to protect these vulnerable populations.