Friday, April 23, 2004
On the last full measure of devotion:
Sports Illustrated/CNN is reporting today that Pat Tillman, a Special Operations soldier in the United States Army was killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan. Tillman was a good soldier
He was also one hell of a defensive safety for the Arizona Cardinals. In his last four seasons with the Cardinals he recorded a franchise record 155 tackles. He could have continued playing football. I'm sure it was one of his dreams to do so.
September 11, 2001 changed him. He gave up a three year $3.6 million contract to join the US Army. I remember this story because he was hoping to become a Special Operations soldier, or perhaps an Army Ranger. I forget which, but the annual salary he was looking at was somewhere in the neighborhood of $25,000 a year. Tillman probably made that in on any given Sunday afternoon in the NFL. Peggy Noonan wrote this when she learned of his decision.
His country was attacked. He felt an inner call to duty. He answered it, and today he gave his nation what Lincoln referred to as the last full measure of devotion.
Yesterday I quoted McArthur's final address to the Corps of Cadets at West Point. If you are wondering just what kind of soldier he was talking about, Pat Tillman was that kind of soldier.
Duty. Honor. Country. That was the call Tillman heard. May we hear and answer that call, each in our own way.
Rest in peace, Pat. Welcome home.