Freudian Slips: Tillman Death Do Us Part

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Location: Irony, New Jersey, United States

Life takes us many places. It's a box of chocolates and a Hansel and Gretal trail of candy wrappers. I have filmed as an actor in The Happening, Invincible, The Lovely Bones, The Bounty Hunter, The Greek American, Bazookas, Limitless, TV's Its Always Sunny in Philly, Outlaw, New York, The Warrior, The Nail, Game Change, Cold Case, & commercial work includes The Philadelphia Eagles, Septa, Coors, Turbo Tax & Carnival Cruises. Freudian Slips spotlights irony in short story format.

May 04, 2006

Tillman Death Do Us Part

Pat Tillman 1977-2004
Give blood but you may find that it is not enough. Give blood but don’t expect to see reward.
-Pete Townsend
Pat Tillman turned down a $3.6 million professional contract with the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League to enlist in the United States Army in May 2002. In the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Tillman decided he had not done enough to serve his country. So what is a ruggedly handsome pampered professional athlete to do? He left millions and the hero worship associated with pro football to volunteer to go fight in the Iraqi war. He abandoned the creature comforts of home and his friends. He tossed aside a privileged life for the ultimate sacrifice.

I have learned to choose my battles. Selfishly speaking, just imagining all that Pat Tillman gave up might have kept me a non-enlisted self-centered coward. It is an unfathomable proposition to me to go from the end zone to a war zone. Free-spirited Pat Tillman took off his snug fitting football pads to hump as a grunt for his country for a cause that he believed in.

The circumstances surrounding Tillman’s death remain shrouded in mystery. The military continues an internal investigation and a full report has not been publicized. Some of the facts are indisputable. After coming under fire, Tillman’s patrol got out of their vehicles and gave chase. As they moved toward the spot of the ambush, gunfire sustained for several minutes. There exist reports that Pat Tillman realized Americans were shooting at him and desperately tried to signal for a ceasefire. The truth may never be known but one thing is for sure…the firefight mortally wounded Pat Tillman. Like an enemy within, Tillman died accidentally by his own purpose. The rampart violence of war, the bullets must have tore Tillman up inside physically and figuratively.
If Pat Tillman got killed by friendly fire, there is absurd irony and profound tragedy in that. Football has a line of scrimmage but war adheres to no mark of demarcation. Getting taken out by your own teammate is as unfitting of a death for a pro football player. Friendly fire can cost you your life on the battlefield but getting hit by a teammate isn’t even a five yard penalty on a football field. A general manager of his own life, death was a trade Tillman was willing to make off of the football field.

An uncommon man of principle, Pat Tillman’s funeral must have spilled into the next day. No eulogy would ever be complete. His courage and commitment should not come into question. Impossible to forget, difficult to replace, Pat Tillman leaves a legacy as a model of heroism. I can see the making of a Hollywood movie about Pat Tillman’s life that will need no glorification. I admire Private First Class Tillman for his valor in wanting to make a difference in this world and I am not forgetting the unheralded soldiers who continue to do the same. While some may prefer to question Tillman's beliefs, nobody should forget about his life. One of the five people I expect to meet in heaven is…Pat Tillman. Tillman death do us do meet.



Anonymous Catherine Mary said...

Joe, You said it eloquently! My heart goes out to all the Pat Tillman's, their family and friends. I lost a very good friend in Viet Nam, his name is Victor DiCavalucci. You may remember the park they made in his honor on Greentree Road. He is someone I loved dearly and think about often.

9:27 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

Catherine Mary,
If it is the one I am thinking of it is a brown sign is it not?

11:22 PM  
Anonymous Catherine Mary said...

Yes Joe, As you go down Greentree from Rt42 it is on the left hand side.

12:53 AM  
Blogger PaxRomano said...

Tillman is one of the more recognized victims of this senseless action.

My heart bleeds for all the allied men and women (as well as the countless number of blameless Iraqi citizens) who have died in this travesty of a war.

8:10 PM  
Blogger the Contrary Goddess said...

you sometimes surprise me Joe. But it is funny the things that touch us. For me the big news stories that seemed to coalesce into changes in me included Tiennamen Square and Ruby Ridge. When our government shot Vickie Weaver in the head while she was holding her baby, I knew it would do the same to me and anyone else for that matter.

11:32 PM  
Blogger Dr. Nazli said...

This is a lovely post, Joe

6:48 AM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

Mega dittos, Pax. Did I just say that?

Friendly fire always reminds me of how umpredictable life is.

Dr. N,

11:03 AM  

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