Did anyone see the memorial on ESPN last night? It was sad to watch. His brother read a nice poem that his Mother wrote.... :(
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Pat Tillman, the pro-football player who gave up a promising career to fight and die in Afghanistan, was remembered yesterday for his sacrifice and humility.
"He wasn't interested in headlines," said Gene Upshaw, the head of the NFL's players union. "But he was interested in giving everything for a cause, whatever the cause may be."
For Tillman, 27, that cause became fighting the war on terror.
The pain and frustration his death wrought erupted at one point, when his youngest brother, Rich, after hearing how Pat was now "with God," took the stage and exploded.
"He is not with God, he is dead," Rich Tillman said. "He is f------ dead."
He jumped down from the podium, but then returned to read a poem.
Pat Tillman, a former Arizona Cardinals safety, was said to have been so moved by the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that he enlisted, becoming a member of the Army's elite Ranger unit in 2002.
He was shot dead April 22 in a daring attempt to save comrades ambushed along Afghanistan's treacherous border with Pakistan, where terror lord Osama Bin Laden is thought to be hiding.
Yesterday, the famous and not-so-famous gathered under a sun-filled sky on what would have been called a perfect day if it wasn't one on which a dead hero was being mourned.
At the San Jose Municipal Rose Garden - one of Tillman's favorite spots - Pat Tillman Sr. expressed his love for and pride in his son.
"I miss my son," he said. "It's only been a week and it ain't getting any better."
He added: "I don't know what the Ranger motto is, but I bet you a buck he upheld it."
Kevin Tillman, 25, the middle son who gave up a baseball career to also join the Army after the Sept. 11 attacks and served in the same Ranger platoon, did not address the crowd.
He is expected to return to Afghanistan later this week.
Among the parade of speakers were Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), several of Tillman's former coaches and many of his lifelong friends.
"Pat's best service to his country was to remind us all what courage really looks like," McCain said. "While many of us will be blessed to live a longer life, few of us will ever live a better one. He was a most honorable man."
California First Lady Maria Shriver read a letter from her husband, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
"I was told he admired me, but it's the reverse," the letter said. "Pat's journey, that's the American Dream, and he sacrificed that. That, to me, is a real hero."