Some heroes do not wear capes, they wear football helmets, or they wear military gear, or in some cases, they were both. Several days ago, on April 22nd, the nation remembered the 13th anniversary of the passing of Pat Tillman. With Memorial Day a month away, what a more perfect time to remember this hero.
Cpl. Pat Tillman, without a doubt, is the most heroic and the greatest patriot ever play in the National Football League. When he died in 2004 at the age of 27, the entire nation mourned, but also paid their respect to this Cardinal.
Tillman was born in Northern California, and played college football for the Arizona State Sun Devils, before being drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the 1998 NFL Draft. Tillman immediately made an impact for Arizona, being selected to the 2000 NFL All-Pro team. While Tillman was flourishing in the desert sun, one day in 2001, would impact his life, and the entire world forever.
That day was September 11th. Tillman, who had family members serve in the Armed Forces, was incredibly moved by the attacks on that day. After the 2001 season, Tillman and his brother Kevin, left their professionally sports career (Kevin was a member of the Cleveland Indians Organization to join the Army Ranger program. Tillman turned down a contract offer of $3.6million over three years to fight for his country.
Kevin and Pat enlisted in May of 2002, and finished their basic training August of that same year. Pat served in the Second Platoon, Alpha Company, Second Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment.
On April 22nd, 2004, while deployed in Afghanistan, Tillman was serving as an acting team captain and SAW gunner of serial one of a two-pronged caravan, Kevin was also there. Later, while under an ambush, Tillman was shot and killer that day by what we know now was friendly fire.
It has now been 13 years since Pat left us, and his name still is talked about, and his legacy still burns within the spirit of this country. Tillman was a man who gave up professional football, something kids grow up dreaming about, to defend his country and the freedoms we are able to enjoy.
His name is still around his foundation, and also the Pac-12 defensive player of the year award. His number has been retired by Arizona State as well as the Cardinals, and was awarded the Silver Star and the rank of corporal.
However, all of these awards and accolades cannot bring back Pat Tillman. Nevertheless, what Tillman gave up in contracts and riches, we can never repay him. The term “hero,” is thrown around a lot, but at the top of the mountain filled with patriots, Pat Tillman stands the tallest.