Plenty of national leaders and officials gathered to say goodbye to former Secretary of State Colin Powell during his funeral on Friday November 5. The former general died on October 18 at age 84, after complications with COVID-19, as well as other medical issues. His funeral was attended by former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, whom Powell served as state secretary under, as well as President Joe Biden. Due to his ongoing recovery from a sepsis infection, former President Bill Clinton was one of three living presidents who did not attend the ceremony, via USA Today.
Clinton was hospitalized at facility in Irvine, California on October 14 for an infection. He was released a few days later and was seen leaving the hospital with his wife, former First Lady Hillary Clinton. The former first lady and 2016 presidential candidate did attend the funeral service. Shortly after the news of Powell’s death came out, Clinton tweeted a short remembrance of him. “Colin Powell was a courageous soldier, a skilled commander, a dedicated diplomat, and a good and decent man. My condolences to Alma, the entire Powell family, and all the people whose lives he touched through his service and example,” he wrote.
Besides Clinton, former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Donald Trump also skipped the funeral service. Carter turned 97-years-old in October. Shortly after Powell’s death, Carter released a statement calling him “a true patriot and public servant.” Trump had criticized Powell, specifically his handling of the Iraq war, in a statement after the former state secretary’s death.
Bush, Obama, and Biden sat with their wives in the first pew with their wives Laura, Michelle, and Jill, respectively, as did Powell’s wife of 60-years Alma. Two of the officials who delivered eulogies for Powell were Secretary of State under Clinton Madeleine Albright, whom Powell succeeded, and Richard Armitage, who had been deputy secretary of state during the Bush administration. Powell’s son Michael gave an incredibly powerful eulogy for his father. “As he said in his autobiography, his journey was an American journey. Colin Powell was a great lion with a big heart. We will miss him terribly,” he said to conclude his speech.