Current Commentary

Veterans Take
Guest Editor
Curtis Hendel


An American Soldier

Last week, a soldier named Pat Tillman was killed during a firefight in Afghanistan. He was just one of many killed this month in the War on Terror. Soldiers, airmen, and Marines are all over the world chasing terrorists that wish to wreak havoc on our society. Pat Tillman was a volunteer in an all-volunteer military. He was an Army Ranger, which about guaranteed that he would see heavy action in any conflict. He had. He served a year in Iraq before going to Afghanistan earlier this year. Tillman's death was no more or less tragic than any other; his life was as precious as any but no more precious. After his death a great percentage of the country mourned though, as he put a face on the men and women killed in action.

Pat Tillman was very different before he joined the Army. He turned down a multi-million dollar contract to play football for the Arizona Cardinals after 9-11 to team up with his brother Kevin (who was a minor league ball player for the Cleveland Indians) in joining the Army. They both wanted to be Rangers. Both walked away from the dream of most American boys, playing pro ball. This was no publicity stunt. After his enlistment he adamantly refused being interviewed by the press. He just wanted to be in the Army and serve the country that allowed him to achieve his dreams. Pat Tillman was an American Soldier.

The inner drive to join the military in times on conflict was the same as any other member of the military. The attack on America had called him personally. He and his fellow soldiers wish to keep our county and all of her people safer from evil. For decades they have signed up to put on the uniform, take up arms, and travel across the world to stare death in the face. Today's warriors believe in what they are doing even as they are still in harm's way. A number of wounded Marines opted to stay in Iraq to heal from combat wounds instead of coming home. They didn't want to leave their units.

The spirit of the American Soldier has always been strong. Throughout history, this spirit has carried them through the toughest of times and most difficult situations. Pat Tillman put a face on the spirit that has been shared by masses of military personnel. We need to remember them all.
So to all of the men and women of our armed services past and present, to the guard members from our area that deployed to participate, and to those who continue to sign up; Thank you. Thank you for doing what you know is right. Thank you for allowing all of us to lie down at night and not feel threatened. Thank you for giving your all so that my kids, my nephews, and all the children of this country may have the opportunity to live a life in the future with the promise of safety.

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