WEST POINT – The war hero known as “Stormin’ Norman” was remembered with tributes, humor and emotion during an hour-long memorial service at the United States Military Academy Thursday afternoon.
General Norman Schwarzkopf graduated from the academy as a member of the Class of 1956, and went on to legendary leadership during an illustrious military career.
The highlight was his role as commander of the coalition forces in the Persian Gulf War, which ended 22 years ago, to the day, of the memorial service yesterday..
Former U.S. Secretary of State and Retired four-star General Colin Powell said Schwarzkopf exemplified exceptional qualities on and off the battlefield.
“Commander, tough, brusk, a guy with a heart of care and kindness, who was a personification of the troops that he loved and that he led to victory,” said Powell. “He was a larger than life figure who valued his performance, his articulateness and his brilliant strategy, who lit up the country and lit up the world.”
Daughter Cindy Schwarzkopf, one of his three children, lovingly remembered her father with an upbeat, but at times intensely emotional tribute.
“Where the public remembers a war hero dressed in desert camouflage, or a uniform decorated with medals and ribbons awarded for his service, we remember a father who would dress up in a clown costume complete with sunglasses, a big fake nose and a tie that hung from his neck to his shins, to perform magic tricks at our childhood birthday parties while simultaneously making balloon animals for all of our friends in attendance,” she said.
Also among more than 300 attending the memorial, but not speaking, was former Vice President Dick Cheney.
With his wife Brenda, and other family members looking on, Schwarzkopf’s ashes were brought to a final resting place in an area of the West Point Cemetery where “Stormin’ Norman” who died in December at age 78, will be surrounded by other heroes, including his father.