I recently wrote an article about my backyard heroics as a child. Well today, Friday, April 23, 2004 we were reminded what the word hero meant. Pat Tillman, 27 years old and a former Arizona Cardnial was killed in a planned ambush in Afghanistan.
Pat and his brother Kevin, who was a minor league baseball player in the Cleveland Indians, joined the army rangers walking away from millions of dollars and a comfortable life in Arizona. Pat was somewhat of a local hero in Arizona as he grew up there and went to college at Arizona State University where he graduated in 3 years with 3.84 GPA. He was the 1997 Pac 10 player of the year there.
Most people have never heard of Pat Tillman before today so I’m going to give you a little insight on the kind of man he was. In 2001 when he was a free agent he turned down a 5 year 9 million dollar contract from the world champion St. Louis Rams to make less money in Arizona because he loved the organization and felt a sense of loyalty to them. After 9/11 he felt he needed to serve his country. So he and his brother went in to the army and became rangers but only after he married his high school sweet heart Marie. Becoming a ranger is no easy task, only 35% of the people who attempt this make it. A friend of the family was interviewed after Pat and Kevin left. The question was posed to the friend as to why the brothers denied all interview requests about the decision. The friend said that they felt they didn’t have anymore to lose than the 56 others they went threw basic training with so there was no reason to be interviewed.
Pat was a man than not only all football fans could be proud of but someone all Americans can be proud of. In life he lead a good life that we could all envy and now in death he left Americans with a real sports hero to look up to. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife Marie and the rest of his family. Thank you pat for all you left us.