From: Subject: Date: April 21, 2005 3:53:51 PM CDT Hankblog

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Remembering Pat Tillman

The story about the death of Pat Tillman in Afghanistan has already aged considerably in news cycle terms. For those who haven't been following the story, Pat Tillman was a young man who had a very successful collegiate football career at Arizona State. He was then drafted by the Arizona Cardinals and had a solid football career, playing with Arizona from 1998 until 2001.

After 9-11, Tillman's brother decided to join the Army to fight in Afghanistan. Pat walked away from a $3.6 million dollar contract with Arizona to join with his brother and attempt to become an Army Ranger. He passed through Ranger school, and was among the first deployed. He fully planned to rejoin the NFL in three years after his tour was over.

The entire time Tillman served, he did not do interviews about the choice he made. A consistently humble person, he felt that his decision warranted no more media attention than that of any other person who enlisted after 9-11. He just wanted to serve his country.

Several different sportswriters have written about Tillman since his death. I think the one that moved me the most was this piece written by CNNSI's Tim Leyden sent to me by my friend Evil Mike. I learned many things about Tillman from the column. He demonstrated himself to be a man of great intelligence, skill, and work ethic.

I will not say that Tillman's loss is any greater than any other life lost in Afghanistan or Iraq, simply because no one man or woman's life inherently has more value than any others. I also won't say that his loss is greater because from all I have read about him, Tillman would be the first man to disagree with me on that point.

Instead, I think it's important to remember a couple of other things, and bring everyone's attention to them. First, there's this story from Mark Kreidler of that looks at the ghoulish practice of trying to capitalize on Tillman's death on Ebay. There's also a look at someone who has tried to go the other way in protest to these practices. The auction for sanity as it may be termed had gone up considerably after Kreidler's story hit the web. It was up to $1575 when I looked. It now appears to be closed, or pulled. I hope Ebay didn't pull it.

It also seems a good time to remember that there is STILL a military action engaged in Afghanistan. It seems like all the deaths in Afghanistan were being completely ignored in the wake of the Iraq carnage. Tillman's death brought some light back onto those who have died in the original front on the war on terror. Sadly, this light did not last long. Norbizness tried to draw a fair amount of attention back to the matter in this post.

In the end, I am not trying to say we shouldn't remember Pat Tillman or his sacrifice. What I think we should do is remember him along with all the others who have died in Afghanistan as well as those lost in Iraq. We need to press whoever wins the election in November on the fact that contrary to what W may think, the job still is not done over there.

Say a prayer for everyone who serves.