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April 30, 2004 - Image 73

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2004-04-30

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

An Enhanced Reference Guide
For Metro Detroit's Jewish Communi

The Sacrifice

T

wo weeks
after
NFL
player
Pat Tillman got
married in May
2002, he quietly
told his coaches
and Arizona. . ,
HARRY
Cardinal owri-46I3ill
KIRSBAUM Bidwill that he was
turning away from a
Columnist
three-year, $3.6 mil-
lion contract to join
the armed forces.
Tillman gave up the trappings that
a multi-million-dollar NFL career
could bring, to follow in his father's
footsteps: fighting for one's country.
He refused all interview requests,
and so did his family. He never con-
sidered himself any more important
than the other men and women who
chose to serve.
And that was why many -non-
sports fans did not know of Tillman
until his death on April 22 was
announced a day later..
Tillman, an Army Ranger special-
ist, was ambushed while on patrol
about 12 miles southwest of Khost
in Afghanistan.
Professional sports figures usually
make front-page news by signing
huge contracts or landing in the
pokey for drunk driving, wife beat-
ing or drug using.
I filed Tillman's press clippings
nearly two years ago and waited to
write something when he finally
returned to the NFL. But things
happen, and the media took firm
grasp of this story.
By the time I got home from work
on Friday, his death led the news.
Photos of Tillman in his football jer-
sey and Ranger uniform were dis-
played on television throughout the
weekend; and former coaches, team-
mates and political figures provided
statements.
"Pat Tillman was an inspiration
both on and off the football field.
As with all who made the ultimate
sacrifice in the war on terror, his
family is in the thoughts and prayers
of President and Mrs. Bush," read
the White House statement.
"I am heartbroken today by the
news of Pat Tillman's death," said
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., in a
statement. "Many American families

have suffered the same terrible sacri-
fice that Pat's family must now bear,
and the patriotism that their loved
ones exemplified is as fine and com-
pelling as Pat's. But there is in Pat
Tillman's example ... such an inspi-
ration to all of us to reclaim the
essential public-spiritedness of
Americans that many of us, in low
moments, had worried was no
longer our common distinguishing
trait."
His death put a name on the war
on terrorism, said a media talking
head.
I wonder if the family of Army
Specialist Richard Trevithick of
Gaines, Mich., felt the same collec-
tive loss for Tillman?
Trevithick was killed on April 14
when an explosive device went off
near his convoy vehicle in Balad,
Iraq.
No national media types camped
out in front of the Trevithick home
in Gaines looking for a statement.
Gov. Jennifer Granholm did order
American flags to fly at half-staff on
April 21 throughout Michigan in his
honor and memory, but how many
of us knew that?
There is nothing wrong with
headlines about Tillman, a man who
gave up millions of dollars to serve
his country. But should his death
mean more to us than the loss of
Trevithick or the 828 U.S. troops
who have died so far in Iraq or in
Operation Enduring Freedom?
Whatever our political bent on the
war on terrorism, we should mourn
the deaths of these men and women
equally.
So it was a bit of a shock to read a
statement posted by filmmaker
Michael Moore on his Web site,
written on April 14, ironically on
the same day that Trevithick died.
"I oppose the U.N. or anyone else
risking the lives of their citizens to
extract us from our debacle," he said
in his Mike's Message column.
"I'm sorry, but the majority of
Americans supported this war once
it began and, sadly, that majority
must now sacrifice their children
until enough blood has been let that
maybe — just maybe — God and
the Iraqi people will forgive us in
the end."
I just hope that the Trevithick
family can forgive Moore. III

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Distributed: Week of September 10, 2004

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73

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