In recent days, we have experienced the deaths of two men who dedicated their lives to their work and have left quite a legacy.

Sir David Amess was fatally stabbed at Belfairs Methodist Church while meeting constituents on October 15 2021 and the former American Secretary of State, Colin Powell, died from Covid complications on Monday, October 18.

Sir David had an outstanding record of passing laws to help the most vulnerable, end cruelty to animals, amongst other things. He also campaigned for Southend to receive city status -which, since his death, the Queen has granted.

However, I don’t live in America and knew very little of Colin Powell but wanted to focus on an act by Colin Powell, which will forever have my admiration.

In February 2003, he delivered a speech before the United Nations. He presented evidence from the US intelligence community that stated Iraq had misled inspectors and had weapons of mass destruction.

He said, “there can be no doubt that Saddam Hussein has biological weapons and the capability to rapidly produce more, many more.”

It was later proved wrong, as no such weaponry existed.

He had an exemplary record until that time, and Colin Powell was reportedly told by Dick Cheney before the UN speech: “You’ve got high poll; you can afford to lose a few points.”

It proved to be more than a few points he lost. He sullied his reputation.

The embarrassment and humiliation must have been immense, but it was what he did next that impressed me. He admitted he was wrong.

While being interviewed on CNN’s Larry King Live, he said, “I regret it now because that information was wrong.” “…I will always be seen as the one who made the case before the international community.”

He also said it had been “painful” for him personally and would forever be a “blot” on his record.

What does it take to swallow your pride publicly and admit you made a mistake?

In my view, a high level of integrity.

For all of Colin Powell’s accolades, the most notable being the first black US secretary of state, the fact that he stood up publicly and admitted he was wrong will always stand out for me.

Sometimes we never know the impact of our decisions and how far-reaching the ramifications can be as America went to war just six weeks after that speech, and the effect is still being felt.

My older brother has often said that you can spend your entire life doing good deeds and make one slip, and that is what people remember.

I will remember Colin Powell’s willingness to accept responsibility for his actions. And that act will be a source of influence and inspiration for his family and many others for generations to come as he has left a benchmark of what it takes to do the right thing.

Rip – Sir David Amess – March 26 1952- October 15 -2021 and Colin Powell – April 5 -1937 – October 18 2021.