April 15, 2004 started out like any other tax day. It certainly didn’t end up that way though. Former Arizona Cardinals star Pat Tillman, who quit the NFL to become an Army Ranger, was killed in friendly fire that day. Unfortunately we will never know what would have become of Tillman and if he would have ever decided to come back to the NFL. However we do know he paid the ultimate sacrifice for us and for that we should all be greatful.
When the terrorist attacks of 9/11 happened, it hit Pat and his brother Kevin hard. It moved them so much they wanted to join the Army as Rangers and fight back at the enemy. For Pat, it meant giving up a star studded and lucrative career in the NFL with the Cards. At first it may have stunned some that an individual could give all that up to put himself in harm’s way but that was Pat Tillman. He was a man who knew what he wanted. He had that same mentality in the NFL and at Arizona State University.
It is easy for us to say we might do the same thing in his shoes but ultimately I know I could never do that and I know many of you couldn’t either. That’s what makes Pat Tillman so special. So today, let’s not celebrate the anniversary of a death but celebrate what he meant to us and to this country. He loved his country. That should be how we remember him.