Pat Tillman: A Cover-Up at the Highest Level
Pat Tillman was a professional football player who left his career to serve his country and paid the ultimate price, only to be exploited by politics. “Pat had it all, intelligence, movie star good looks, a loving wife, athletic prowess, fame. A lucrative and promising career. Who among us could walk away from riches and a job we love?" said Maria Shriver, California's first lady, about Pat Tillman. Instead of pursuing a multi-million dollar paycheck, Pat Tillman decided to serve his country after the devastating attacks of September 11Th, 2001. He was a proven role model who would never compromise his principles for personal gain. The politicians and military leaders of the United States called him a hero and tried to use him as a poster boy to promote the war in Afghanistan. Tillman refused to be used as a puppet and chose to serve with dignity and honor. Born, Patrick Daniel Tillman, on November 6Th, 1976 in San Jose, California. He was the oldest of three sons born to Mary and Patrick Tillman. Pat and his younger brothers, Kevin and Richard, spent most of their youth reading and were very active. He attended Leland High School and contributed in the team’s victory of the Central Coastal Division 1 Football Championship. Pat Tillman was then awarded the last remaining scholarship to the Arizona State University football team in 1994. Pat Tillman and Marie Ugenti (future Mrs. Pat Tillman), both graduated from Leland High, Marie was voted “best smile”; and Pat was voted “most masculine”. Tillman began playing the linebacker position at Arizona State. He stood five-feet eleven-inches tall, relatively small for a line-baker, but nevertheless, Tillman excelled in his position. During his senior year, Tillman was voted the PAC 10 Defensive player of the year. He majored in marketing and graduated in three and a half years with a 3.84 grade point average. In 1998, Tillman was the 226Th National Football League’s overall draft pick, made by the Arizona Cardinals. He then switched positions to safety and started in ten of sixteen games his rookie season. Pat Tillman then turned down a five years, nine million dollar offer by the St. Louis Rams out of loyalty to the Arizona Cardinals. According to ESPN, in 2000, Tillman finished the season with 155 tackles (120 solo), 1.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, 9 pass deflections and 1 interception for 30 yards (espn.com). In May 2002, eight months after the September 11 attacks and after completing the fifteen remaining games of the 2001 season which followed the attacks, Tillman turned down a contract offer of $3.6 million over three years from the Cardinals to enlist in the U.S. Army. Tillman finished his career with totals of 238 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 3 interceptions for 37 yards, 3 forced fumbles, 2 pass deflections, and 3 fumble recoveries in 60 career games (espn.com). In addition he also had 1 rush attempt for 4 yards and returned 3 kickoffs for 33 yards. Tillman explained his decision in an interview, "My great-grandfather was at Pearl Harbor, and a lot of my family has gone and fought in wars. And -- I really haven't done a damn thing, as far as laying myself on the line like that." (cnn.com) Pat Tillman and his brother Kevin, enlisted in the Army at a Denver recruiting station. They signed a three-year commitment, soon after Pat returned from a two-week honeymoon with his wife, Marie, in Bora Bora. Pat and Kevin Tillman, entered basic training in June of 2002. Kevin Tillman gave up a career in professional baseball in order to serve in the Army. They both completed basic training in September of 2002. Then they continued together to complete the Ranger Indoctrination Program and were later assigned to the Second Ranger Battalion in Fort Lewis, Washington. Pat Tillman participated in the initial invasion of Operation Iraqi Freedom. On November 28th, 2003 Pat Tillman graduated from...
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