Greater Love Hath No Man Than This. . .
Vol: 31 Issue: 24 Saturday, April 24, 2004
Another American fighting man has made the supreme sacrifice for his country in Afghanistan. Every one of our fighting men is special — the loss of one diminishes us all, but this particular Army Ranger was uniquely special.
Sgt. Pat Tillman walked away from a $3.5 million NFL contract in 2002 to join the US Army Rangers, leaving both his career and his new bride behind. He and his brother Kevin, (who walked away from a minor-league baseball career) served in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
After leaving Iraq, both men returned to the States for special elite training, before being sent back to Afghanistan, where the brothers served in the same platoon. Sgt. Tillman was killed while with his unit, part of the 75th Ranger Regiment, hunting for al Qaeda and Taliban fighters in southeastern Afghanistan. He was twenty-seven years old.
Pat Tillman was unique in that he embodied all that is good about America — and his life stands in stark contrast to the ravings of politicians like Charley Rangel or John Kerry, who claim the military is unfair.
Rangel is attempting to have the government reinstate the draft, claiming the all-volunteer force is disproportionately poor and consists mainly of minorities. According to Rangel, the only way to get guys like Pat Tillman into uniform is to draft them. The only ones currently serving, following Rangel’s line of thinking, are those Americans too poor, too disadvantaged and too stupid to get real jobs.
Then there are guys like John Kerry who, if given the authority of the White House, would turn it over to the United Nations. In John Kerry’s world, Sgt. Tillman would have died under the command of the organization that propped up Saddam Hussein for a dozen years in order to loot Iraq’s oil wealth.
But Sgt. Tillman didn’t join the US Army Rangers to serve the United Nations — Tillman gave his life for his COUNTRY, not for some universalist supra-national debating society whose interests almost always are at odds with what is good for America.
Sgt Tillman was an American — a real American. He wasn’t the kind of guy to talk out both sides of his mouth. He knew what needed to be done and he did it. Tillman is representative of an America that baffles the liberals.
Former Reagan speechwriter and Wall Street Journal Opinion columist Peggy Noonan summed it up, writing in 2002, “As the Vietnam-era song said, “Something’s happening here.” And what it is may be exactly clear. Some very talented young men, and women, are joining the armed forces in order to help their country because, apparently, they love it. After what our society and culture have been through and become the past 30 years or so, you wouldn’t be sure that we would still be making their kind, but we are.”
As the comedian Mort Sahl likes to say, “We live in the worst political system in the world — except for all the others.”
Pat Tillman died defending that system. But it goes beyond that. He joined the Army without expectation or agenda beyond doing what he believed to be the right thing. He was besieged by interview requests from all manner of media, for obvious reasons.
Tillman turned down all requests. He joined the Army to defend his country, not exploit his fame.
Sgt. Tillman lived for his country. And he died for it. Despite idiots like Ted Kennedy and Hillary Clinton who keep talking about ‘quagmires’ and ‘another Vietnam’ America is still capable of producing heroes like Sgt. Pat Tillman.
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)