While I have mixed feelings about our government’s promotion and conduct of the war in Iraq, I think most of us who’d rather not see our military over there don’t believe in condemning the people who’ve chosen to serve. And so, I find the death of Pat Tillman in Afghanistan this week particularly sad. [[And it was that much sadder to learn later that his death was due to “friendly fire.”]]
Until the Viet Nam War, it wasn’t that uncommon for public figures to join the military. Look at the hundreds of athletes, actors and musicians who fought for their country in World War II. You can’t say the same about recent wars. The rich and the famous avoid military service because it’s a volunteer military and they don’t “have” to go.
Despite this, both Tillman and his brother chose to go into the Army to become Rangers. Pat Tillman gave up a multi-million dollar football contract to go fight for his country. Even more extraordinary – he graduated from college summa cum laude in three and a half years. How many professional athletes can you name who not only graduated from college but graduated with honors?
I hope we remember Pat Tillman. I don’t think we’re going to see other young and famous and rich men go to war.