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Colin Powell Discussed the Role of the Military


Colin Powell

Colin Powell

Photograph by Michael Quan/Harvard News Office

When General Colin Powell spoke on Commencement afternoon in 1993, he was finishing his tenure as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President Bill Clinton. His prospective arrival on campus sparked protests over the military’s position on gays serving openly in the armed forces, which at the time was illegal.  The “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” compromise measure had just been introduced to Congress that spring, but was not yet law. As this magazine's editors noted, unhappiness about a Commencement speaker was not new at the University.

Read excerpts from Powell's address in this PDF from the July-August 1993 issue.