(3/28/2003) Quotes circulated via e-mail must always be greeted with a healthy dose of skepticism because of the unreliability of the medium. Unlike another chain letter that attributes a witty comeback to the Secretary of State, Colin Powell really said what he's attributed with. But the context in which it is presented is simplified and fictionalized to increase its emotional appeal.
SAMPLE CHAIN LETTER TEXT
When in England at a fairly large conference, Colin Powell was asked by the Archbishop of Canterbury if our plans for Iraq were just an example of empire building by George Bush.
He answered by saying that, "Over the years, the United States has sent many of its fine young men and women into great peril to fight for freedom beyond our borders. The only amount of land we have ever asked for in return is enough to bury those that did not return."
It became very quiet in the room
END CHAIN LETTER TEXT
The "fairly large conference" referred to above was a gathering of the World Economic Forum. During the gathering, as Powell was addressing the forum, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, asked him a lengthy and complex question. Powell offered a similarly verbose response, of which a very small portion comprised the quote immortalized above. The room was far from quiet following his response, as his entire speech was peppered with breaks of applause.
This letter proves that anybody can take a fairly boring exchange and, through some skillful editing, make it a fascinating and inspiring patriotic statement. Check out the references below for the full text of Powell's address as well as his exchange with Carey. Break this chain.