Former NFL star Pat Tillman was one of the latest troops killed in the War in Iraq. He actually died in Afghanistan, but by now, you know this.
You probably have heard a great deal of coverage of this single death. You have unquestionably heard more about Tillman than almost all of the other soldiers who have paid the same price before him.
Many praise Tillman as a hero because he gave up a multi-million dollar NFL contract to serve his country in a time of war. If it says a great deal about him that he would have such a bright and promising future only to set it aside to answer a higher call of duty, it perhaps says even more about us if we are somehow shocked that he was any more vulnerable there than any of the other thousands of men and women fighting for their country.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to diminish Tillman’s sacrifice in any way. But his story is one of hundreds that came to an unfortunate and untimely end in a foreign land. The fact that he was a star athlete shouldn’t make him stand out above any of the others, and we must not diminish their memory in any way. For no matter how much he had here at home, he paid exactly the same price all of our fallen soldiers have paid: the highest one of all.
The next time you mourn this single soldier, ask yourself how you would feel if you were the mother or father of the soldier who died just before Tillman. Where are their tributes?