We as a society have seriously devalued the meaning of the word "hero". We toss it around so lightly it's lost all substance. The player who caught the Superbowl winning touchdown pass isn't a true hero. Pat Tillman is a true hero.
Pat Tillman abandoned his $3.6 million a year job as a starting safety for the Arizona Cardinals in the NFL so he could join his brother as an Army Ranger for the 75th Ranger Regiment. Following 9/11, Tillman felt he needed to "pay something back" for the comfortable life he had been afforded. As an Army Ranger he would collect $18,000 a year and not a penny of the $3.6 million he would have been paid for playing 16 games in the NFL. He would also have to risk his life.
Tillman's 75th Ranger Regiment was deployed to Afghanistan where he wound up in the middle of the most serious action. Yesterday, following a firefight with anti-coalition militia forces about 25 miles southwest of a U.S. military base at Khost, Pat Tillman was killed.
I'm not a man easily touched by stories. This particular story, however, struck a chord with me. Pat Tillman wanted to do something following 9/11 and he walked away from $3.6 million and the fame of an NFL player to help where he was needed most. In my humble opinion, that's the courageous action of a true hero. Pat Tillman was 27.
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