Colin Powell: An American Hero

Essay by hickJunior High, 8th gradeA+, April 2007

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An American hero can be a number of things. Often our heroes are war veterans, political figures, or sports legends. Our heroes have made an accomplishment that sets them apart. Colin Powell is an American hero, he has seen war, accomplished what had never been done, and serviced the country.

Colin Luther Powell was born in Harlem on April 5, 1937 to Luther, a shipping clerk, and Maud Ariel Powell, a seamstress. Maud and Luther were Jamaican immigrants who stressed education and achievement; the Powell children were taught not to follow limits others put on them and to strive to be their best. When Colin was still young the Powell’s moved to the South Bronx, where Colin grew up (Academy of Achievement)Powell had an extensive education starting at P.S. 39 where, in the fifth grade, he was put in a slow kid’s class. Colin graduated from Morris High School with average marks (Landau 10).

Powell’s education continued at the City College of New York, where he enrolled in the school’s ROTC program (Reserve Officer Training Corps). The ROTC trains students to become military officers while attending college. Colin Powell excelled in the ROTC program, showing leadership, and earned A’s (Landau 11). Powell graduated from the ROTC at the rank of cadet colonel, the highest rank a cadet can reach in the corps.

Colin Powell’s long military career started on June 9, 1958 when he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. In 1963 Powell was sent to Vietnam with 16,000 other soldiers as an advisor to the South Vietnamese. Later in 1963 Colin was on patrol and stepped on a punji trap.

A punji trap is a simple booby trap that drives a sharpened stick trough the victim’s foot. He received the Purple Heart for his...