Posts Tagged ‘Colin Powell’

Infantry Museum Now Open

June 19, 2009
Parade Field, National Infantry Museum, Ft. Benning (The Parade Field is actually on the Ft. Benning Reservation, but the Museum building is in Columbus.)

Parade Field, National Infantry Museum, Ft. Benning (The Parade Field is actually on the Ft. Benning Reservation, but the Museum building is in Columbus.)

Thousands made the long walk from parking their cars on the roadsides to the   parade ground next to the National Infantry Museum to attend the grand opening graduation ceremony for soldiers who completed their basic training at Fort Benning, and the grand opening of the Museum afterwards.

Museum director MG (R) Jerry White left removes coat,  former Sec. of State Colin Powell greets fellow attendee,  Parade Field stands, National Infantry Museum

Museum director MG (R) Jerry White left removes coat, former Sec. of State Colin Powell greets fellow attendee, Parade Field stands, National Infantry Museum

Former Secretary of State and General Colin Powell drew a cheer from the crowd when he arrived.  He is on hand to cut the ribbon to open the museum.  He topped the long list of dignataries on hand.

Silver Wings Sky Diver,  National Infanrty Msueum Parade Field

Silver Wings Sky-diver, National Infanrty Msueum Parade Field

After the Army’s impressive show of an air assault demonstration,  and members of the elete “Silver Wings” parachuting in,  the Infantry Center Band led the graduating troops onto the field from World War Two Company Barracks area. Since I was in a couple of Army bands, I  always enjoy seeing them do their stuff well, and they did, which was good since this was probably the largest audience they’ll ever march and play for. 

Infantry Center Band leading basic training graduates on to Parade Field

Infantry Center Band leading basic training graduates onto Parade Field

Now,  we can actually see the museum’s main exhibits.  Maybe folks will now start patronizing the Imax Theater, the Fife and Drum restaurant, and the museum’s gift shop enough to help with the museum’s operating expenses.  The crowds for those attractions have been disappointing up until now,  but maybe that will change now.  I’ve been to the theater and restaurant and enjoyed both, and I plan to go again and again. See you at the museum.

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Colin Powell on Columbus, Phenix City, Sarah Palin, and Rush Limbaugh

December 12, 2008

 

Gen. Colin Powell Parkway, Phenix City, Alabama
Gen. Colin Powell Parkway, Phenix City, Alabama

 Colin Powell Parkway in Phenix City, Alabama signifies how much has changed since 1963.  Former Secretary of State  Powell, who became a four-star general and Chief of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, when serving on active duty in the Army,  was pleased by that  honor because it demonstrated how much Phenix City and Columbus has progressed in race relations since he was at Fort Benning in the 1958 and 1963.

  In an interview on the Academy of Achievement website in 1998,  Powell recalled his experiences in the Columbus-Phenix City area right after he had returned from Vietnam.  At Fort Benning, “You could go anywhere, live anywhere, do anything you wished to do. But as soon as you went over the hill, and down into Columbus, Georgia, it was a totally segregated existence.”

  It was duirng that time that  he lived in Phenix City, where he is now honored, because housing on post wasn’t available.  One day, working on his house, he  decided to take a break to go to a drive-in restaurant in Columbus to get a hamburger.  He said a young lady came out to take his order.  She looked in the car and asked him if  “I was a Puerto Rican, and I said ‘no,’   Then she asked me if I was an African student studying at the Infantry School.”   He told that he was an American, to which she replied that  she was sorry but she couldn’t bring the food to him, that she couldn’t serve it to him in his car,  that  he would have to go around to the back to be served.  He told her, “Thanks, but no thanks,”   and left.

    When he came back to the Columbus-Phenix City area a few years ago, he found different cities, cities that honored him for his service to his country. I heard him speak at the Rotary Club of Columbus during that visit, where he was roundly applauded, and after that, went to Phenix City to be honored in a ceremony naming the parkway after him. 

  He stayed in the  news after he retired from the Army when President George W. Bush appointed him Secretary of State.  Powell was, and still is, a Republican.  But, he thinks the party must change if it  is to remain viable, and that it should stop following the advice of Rush Limbaugh, who, he said, “appelas to our lesser instincts, not our better ones.”  He also thought it is a mistake to follow the leadership of Alaska Govenor Sarah Palin.  He  told this to  CNN’s Fareed Zakharia  in an interview that will be aired Sunday at 1 p.m.