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April 26, 2004

In Memory of Pat Tillman

If you?ve been living in a cave for the last few days I?ll try to set this up properly: After September 11th Pat Tillman walked away from a $3.6 Million dollar contract with the Arizona Cardinals to join the US Army along with his brother, Kevin, a successful Minor League baseball player.

Pat was killed in action last Thursday doing what he felt would make a difference to people like you and I. He was that rarest of young men: a man who decided to follow his heart and turn aside wealth and fame for what he felt he had to do.

Others have spoken of his courage and his strength in the last few days. One only needs to do a search on his name to read thousands of words about the remarkable young man that this world lost last Thursday.

My sorrow is fresher than most as I just learned the horrible news today after being away over the weekend. Our society often times only reveals the brilliant light of our best in the darkness of their death.

Despite repeated attempts the Tillman brothers never spoke to the media after joining the service. Even the Army admitted that they wouldn?t have minded some public comments from the brothers for the free publicity that it would have provided. Under the circumstances I can?t blame them. They never did.

We live in a world filled with people who explore a man?s motives with cynicism and skepticism. Several have come forward since his death to belittle his family's loss and Pat's decision to serve. I'm strongly of the belief that Pat?s service and death should serve no political purpose. The Tillman family has chosen to keep their loss and grief private in respect to Pat?s wishes and actions.

Pat Tillman stands for the courage and conviction that we hope our sons and daughters will learn from us. Parents hope that our children will choose right from wrong, that their children will choose civic responsibility over safety, wealth and comfort. In the end that is what Pat's death stands as testimony.

The foundation of great societies is the sacrifice that its citizens are willing to make. The next time you see a sports star blathering about their salary or their 40,000 square foot home on MTV?s ?Cribs? take the time to think about the fortitude it took for Pat Tillman to walk away from wealth and fame. I pray I possess the ability to impart that strength of character to Junior.

Posted by Jim at April 26, 2004 07:55 PM


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