Captain's Quarters Blog

« Look For The Weasel Label | Main | CNN Shills For Kerry? »

April 23, 2004
Pat Tillman, American Patriot, KIA

I was in an office meeting most of this morning, and only got back to my desk at lunchtime. Pat Tillman, KIABy that point, I had received several e-mails from friends around the blogosphere telling me that Pat Tillman had been killed in action in Afghanistan. After 9/11, Tillman left a multimillion-dollar contract with the NFL's Arizona Cardinals, and all the potential endorsement contracts and all of the adulation, in order to fulfill his dream of serving his country in the Army Rangers while he was still young enough to enlist:

Tillman, who was serving with the 75th Ranger Regiment, was involved in a search-and-destroy mission in southeastern Afghanistan along the border with Pakistan, military officials told Fox News. The unit was acting on intelligence about possible Taliban or Al Qaeda fighters when a firefight erupted. Tillman was the only Ranger killed in his unit, although military officials said two other U.S. soldiers were injured. ...

Tillman, 27, shocked fans when he turned down a $3.6 million contract with the Cardinals to be an Army ranger.

"There is in Pat Tillman's example, in his unexpected choice of duty to his country over the riches and other comforts of celebrity, and in his humility, such an inspiration to all of us to reclaim the essential public-spiritedness of Americans that many of us, in low moments, had worried was no longer our common distinguishing trait," Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said in a statement.

Senator McCain gets that exactly right. In a society sometimes dominated by loudmouthed, preening, self-involved individuals, Tillman stood out for his refusal to think only of himself. Tillman was no one's fool, either; he graduated early from Arizona State with a degree in marketing and a 3.84 GPA, and conducted himself with both intelligence and honor in his career and personal life. At one point, Tillman turned down an opportunity to make more money with another team because he felt loyalty to the Cardinals, who had given him his chance to play even though he was undersized for his position.

At the time that he joined the Army, some questioned his motivation, his intelligence, and even his sanity. Let us hope that no one debates his choice now. He wanted to give something back to his country, and unfortunately gave his life for our protection. Please say a prayer for this American patriot and the family he's left behind, and one for all those who have died in defense of our country and freedom..

UPDATE: Don't miss this Peggy Noonan article for the Wall Street Journal, written when Pat Tillman enlisted in the Army. OpinionJournal is running it again today to honor Tillman's memory:

The Abes and Gabes join a long old line of elders dressed in green, blue, gray, white, gold and black. Pat Tillman joins a similar line, of stars who decided they had work to do, and must leave their careers to do it. They include, among others, the actors Jimmy Stewart, Clark Gable and Tyrone Power in World War II; sports stars Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio in the same war; and quarterback Roger Staubach in Vietnam. It is good to see their style return, and be considered noble again.

And good to see what appears to be part of, or the beginning of, a change in armed forces volunteering. In the Vietnam era of my youth it was poor and working-class boys whom I saw drafted or eagerly volunteering. Now more and more I see the sons and daughters of the privileged joining up.

That is a bigger and better story than usually makes the front page. Markets rise and fall, politicians come and go, but that we still make Tillmans is headline news.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at April 23, 2004 12:37 PM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry is

Design & Skinning by:
m2 web studios

blog advertising


Proud Ex-Pat Member of the Bear Flag League!