Saturday, April 22, 2006

Pat Tillman - November 6, 1976 - April 22, 2004

Nate Davis remembers:

I think about the horrible way the Army mismanaged the news of Tillman's death and I get angry that it didn't provide his family with what they so righteously deserved, what every serviceman's family is unquestionably entitled to: The unvarnished truth. Pat's parents, his wife, his fellow Ranger and brother, Kevin, deserved far better.

Mrs. Tillman is still speaking out about the way the military and the government handled the death of her son.

In a scalding criticism of the United States Army and the Bush Administration, the mother of Pat Tillman, a former NFL safety who died during combat in Afghanistan, spoke to Palo Alto High School students about the controversy surrounding her son's death.

The United States Army initially said Tillman was killed by enemy fire, but it was later revealed that the former Arizona Cardinals safety was killed by friendly fire. Mary Tillman alleged that the army and the Bush Administration used her son's death for political gain and covered up the fact that he was killed by U.S. soldiers.

Two things to remember, John McCain gave a moving speech at the memorial service for Pat on May 3, 2004. He spoke of how Pat walked away from 3.6 million NFL contract to join the army. He gave another speech at the University of Florida's 2004 Commencement on April 30, 2004:

I'm sure you're all aware of the inspiring story of Pat Tillman, who gave up a successful professional football career to enlist in the Army after September 11. He served one combat tour in Iraq, and then another in Afghanistan where he was killed in action. He was, by all accounts, a hell of a guy. A good son, brother, husband and friend, an excellent student, an overachieving athlete, a decent, considerate man, a solid citizen in every respect. Obviously, he had been raised to be an honorable man, and to possess the virtues that make an honorable life. He had skill and fortitude and daring in his chosen profession. But it was his unexpected choice of duty to his country over the riches and other comforts of celebrity that proved his courage.
Tillman’s death came at a sensitive time for the Bush administration — the Army’s abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib in Iraq became public and sparked a huge scandal just the week prior to Pat's death. The Pentagon immediately announced that Tillman had died heroically in combat with the enemy, and President Bush hailed him as “an inspiration on and off the football field, as with all who made the ultimate sacrifice in the war on terror. Pat was raised to be honorable, perhaps John McCain and George Bush should learn to do the same on the second anniversary of Pat's death.

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