Biden orders flags at the White House at half-staff in honor of Colin Powell

Biden orders flags at the White House at half-staff in honor of Colin Powell
© Associated Press/Haraz N. Ghanbari/Manuel Balce Ceneta

President BidenJoe BidenPfizer CEO says vaccine data for those under 5 could be available by end of year Omicron coronavirus variant found in at least 10 states Photos of the Week: Schumer, ASU protest and sea turtles MORE has ordered flags at the White House and federal buildings be flown at half-staff until Oct. 22 in honor of former Secretary of state Colin PowellColin PowellDefense & National Security — Biden marks Veterans Day Biden marks Veterans Day at Arlington National Cemetery Overnight Defense & National Security — Washington gathers for Colin Powell's funeral MORE.

“General Colin Powell was a patriot of unmatched honor and dignity. The son of immigrants, born in New York City, raised in Harlem and the South Bronx, a graduate of the City College of New York, he rose to the highest ranks of the United States military and to advise four Presidents. He believed in the promise of America because he lived it. And he devoted much of his life to making that promise a reality for so many others,” Biden said in a proclamation issued Monday afternoon by the White House.

Powell "embodied the highest ideals of both warrior and diplomat,” Biden said.

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Flags are to be flown at half-staff at the White House as well as on all public buildings and grounds, military posts, naval stations, and overseas embassies, consular offices and military posts for the next five days.

Powell’s family said in a statement Monday morning that the former secretary of state, who was 84, died due to complications from COVID-19. Powell had been fully vaccinated but had reportedly been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer.

Powell, who under former President George W. Bush became the first Black American to serve as secretary of State and who also was the first Black American to serve as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was a pivotal figure in U.S. national security.

Elected officials from both parties mourned Powell’s death and reflected on his legacy. In addition to the proclamation, Biden also issued a lengthy statement calling Powell a trailblazer and a friend and someone who would be remembered as “one of our great Americans.”