FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. — A special memorial service took place Friday to pay tribute to the late Colin Powell, who died in October from COVID-19 complications. Powell, a retired U.S. Army General, was honored at the national Buffalo Soldier monument he helped create at Fort Leavenworth.
The ceremony included a 21-gun salute and wreath laying at the monument, which since 2014 has also included a bust of Powell.
During his time at Fort Leavenworth, Powell learned of the social experiment the Army launched in creating the Buffalo Soldiers cavalry regiments, and acknowledged that he may not have risen through the ranks without them.
“General Powell in one lifetime accomplished what would have made four men great,” said Trooper George Pettigrew, Kansas City Area Chapter of Buffalo Soldiers. “Secretary of State, four star general, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman and advisor to four presidents. Any one of those achievements would have made any one person great. But they are all four in one man who did it with dignity as an officer and a gentleman always.”
Pettigrew is a descendant of an original Buffalo Soldier who joined the ranks in 1867.
There also are monuments at Fort Leavenworth to honor the first African-American to graduate from West Point, the first African-American four star general, and the first African-American parachute battalion in the Army.