April 22, 2004
Living in Phoenix Arizona we have had the fortunate opportunity to follow this scrappy young kid through his years at Arizona State University (ASU) and to our delight into the NFL with the Arizona Cardinals.
Mr. Tillman was a Rudy - the kid that shouldn't be able to make the team, but his persistence, work ethic, drive, determination and his own personal values and self beliefs drove him to overcome any deficiencies he might have had in stature. We loved to watch this young kid, Number 42 at ASU run around making plays like he new he could.
Then graduation came, what was to come of Mr. Tillman? With his performance at ASU we all hoped that he would be drafted into the NFL but we didn't know. Then it happened, Mr. Tillman joined the Arizona Cardinals. Could he perform on a national stage at the premium level? You betcha! Other teams wanted Mr. Tillman but his loyalty to Arizona kept him here and we loved our Number 40!
Then September 11, 2001 happened. Making all of us take a look at our lives and our relationships. Making some of us wonder what we have done with our lives? Have we made a difference? Some sort of contribution to the world in our life? Could we be like the courageous individuals on the flight that stormed the cockpit to crash the plane to save the lives of others knowing that they might not survive? Forcing many of us to question ourselves, me included. And apparently the same was true for Mr. Tillman. With one difference, Mr. Tillman took action and decided to make a difference with his life, helping his country, defending his flag and the rights and freedoms that come along with that.
Mr. Tillman without comment, quietly withdrew his name from the Arizona Cardinals roster. Turned down a multi-million dollar contract in the NFL to serve his country. Not as a figurehead, a roll model or someone to be admired for his actions. He only wanted to defend his country as a soldier. Nothing more.
Mr. Tillman became Specialist Tillman in the Army's elite 75th Ranger Regiment. Without comment to the world, Specialist Tillman performed his duties, I'm sure, the only way he new how. His Way.
Mr. Tillman knew the risks involved. His personal values and self belief along with every other attribute that made Mr. Tillman who he was drove him to be the best at what ever he did.
I am speechless on how to sum up what Mr. Tillman's actions have meant to me. He is so much more without comment.
Thank you Mr. Tillman for doing what you do. Because of you and all of the other men and women that do what they do for us to defend our country, you along with them allow us to do what we do and enjoy our freedoms and everything that this provides to us.
I call you Mr. Tillman out of respect. You are so much more than Pat Tillman, the ASU star turned Arizona Cardinal star. For without comment you became so much more than an Army Ranger or an American Hero. You are to be admired and respected for who you are, without comment.
Thank you Mr. Tillman