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remembering colin powell

Colin Powell's son delivers emotional eulogy at funeral: 'A great lion with a big heart'

Mourners gathered Friday to celebrate the life of former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who was remembered by his son as a "great lion with a big heart." 

Powell's son Michael delivered emotional remarks at the former secretary of state's funeral in Washington, D.C, remembering his late father's "endless passion for people."

"Colin Powell was a great leader because he was a great follower," he said. "He knew you could not ask your troops to do anything you were not willing to do yourself."

Michael Powell went on to reflect that his father's example "does not call on us to emulate his resume" but to "emulate his character and his example as a human being," adding, "To honor his legacy, I hope we do more than consign him to the history books. I hope we recommit ourselves to being a nation where we are still making his kind." 

Former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage also delivered remarks during the service, at one point telling an amusing story about a memorable encounter between Powell and a foreign minister from Sweden. The Swedish foreign minister knew about Powell's "affection for ABBA," Armitage recounted, and presented him with a full CD set of the band's songs. 

"Colin immediately went down on one knee and sang the entire 'Mamma Mia' to a very amused foreign minister from Sweden, and to a gobsmacked U.S. delegation who had never seen anything like it," Armitage said. 

Other speakers at the service, which was attended by President Biden and former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, included former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who remembered Powell as "one of the gentlest and most decent people any of us will ever meet."