The Tillman Story
Pat Tillman IS a hero. I know his family fought long and hard to prove that Pat was just a normal guy who deserved the truth, which he does and so do they, but still, he is a hero. He’s not a John Wayne, knight in shining armor hero, he’s a real hero. He put is dick on the line as I like to say. He believed in something and was willing to back that up with sacrifice…the ultimate sacrifice unfortunately…and that is rare. As a veteran I completely respect his decision. I didn’t sign up for any noble reasons…I just wanted the GI Bill and didn’t haven any other irons in the fire at the time (much like his comrade Russell Baer in the documentary…don’t be ashamed of that ever dude). But as an American and a man (yeah, I said it), I have to honor that sacrifice and put it on a pedestal. I understand if his family disagrees, but I any time I see anyone willing to make a real, no bullshit sacrifice, I have to applaud it.
I hate that our government is so willing to throw away that sacrifice for the most base and disgusting reasons as they did in the Iraq Invasion, and this continued conflict Afghanistan. It robs the nation of what makes it great…honor. I’m not saying that people who don’t serve don’t have honor, I’m just saying that serving is a tangible way of showing that you do. I hate that they lied to these people and in the process went against everything they were trying to profit from…Pat Tillman’s legacy. But most of all, I hate the utter hypocrisy of the folks at the top of the chain of command in this instance. Not one set of balls nor sense of responsiblity among them. Not one “man” anywhere near the caliber of Pat Tillman, or any other veteran for that matter. And that is the true flaw…the fact that those with true character reflecting what a great country and people we are, are not the ones in charge at the end of the day. Those with that character are the ones that pay the ultimate price while the scum rises to the top. Meanwhile, those of us who get suckered in are continuously lectured about honor, dignity, integrity, courage and the American Spirit by the very people who degrade its very essence.
Pat Tillman was a hero because he knew the risk of sacrifice yet saw the value in the long view. Pat Tillman is a hero because the values that now cloud our psyche were foreign to him even at the pinnacle. Pat Tillman is a hero because he didn’t fall back on outdated and over-played notions of Mom, American and Apple Pie to make the decision to man-up, but simple character. Most of all Pat Tillman is a hero because no matter what he was before he enlisted, no matter the manner of his death, as tragic and needless as it was, and no matter how the government tried to whore out his memory, neither his character nor the family from whence it cames character, could be sullied. It shined through regardless.
I hate to make the comparison, but hear me out. In my opinion, as an atheist and non-believer, Jesus was not the son of any god. He did not work miracles, was not holier than thou, and did not rise from the dead…he was just a man who wanted to raise the bar on humanity. All the other bullshit and mumbo-jumbo was just the same fucking propaganda designed to wow and woo the crowd to someone else’s agenda. In that aspect, I see Pat Tillman in the same light. Pat Tillman wanted to raise the bar and was willing to put his life on the line to do it. Thankfully, his family and those close to him have hamstrung the fable for the truth. And THAT TRUTH is what makes him my hero.