Fallen soldier’s wife slams ‘immigration ban,’ politicizes husband’s ultimate sacrifice

Marie and her husband, Pat Tillman, before he was killed while serving as an Army Ranger in Afghanistan. (The Pat Tillman Foundation)

In a Facebook post Jan. 28, the wife of American hero Pat Tillman took to social media saying she is saddened by the news of an immigration ban.

Marie Tillman’s post says, “this is not the country he dreamed of, not what he served for and not what he died for.”

Tillman, a professional football player living a life many only dream of, lost his life April 22, 2004, when he succumbed to fratricide during a firefight in Afghanistan. He stepped away from a lucrative National Football League contract to serve his county and to defend the freedoms all Americans enjoy today.

Is Mrs. Tillman right? Or, did her husband do exactly what he wanted to do? He took the oath of enlistment. He swore to defend the American Constitution. He swore to defend America against all enemies foreign and domestic.

Some of the comments on her post are supportive, but most are in out-and-out disbelief of her claims that Pat died for any other reason than his love for country and the American Constitution.

In a 2009 interview with the Wall Street Journal, Jon Krakauer, author of ‘Where Men Win Glory,’ which is a behind the scenes look at the life and death of Pat Tillman, describes Tillman as a man who had an old-fashioned sense of duty, masculine honor and masculine pride.

Krakauer also talks about how even though Pat had a bright future in the NFL, he also felt his celebrity didn’t excuse him from duty.

The WSJ article says that in many ways Pat Tillman was the public face of a new generation’s commitment to country and service. In addition to being a superb athlete, he was a revolutionary — a freethinker who read widely and admired those who challenged the status quo.

Mrs. Tillman’s post goes on to read, “As I read posts from the community of #Tillman Scholars on my Facebook feed I am encouraged; they are exactly as I knew they would be, poised and ready to fight. I am proud of them and proud to stand with them, we’ve got this.”

One thing is for sure; Pat Tillman is a true American hero in every sense of the word. What’s not certain is his widow’s motivation for the post or what she means by, ‘they’re poised and ready to fight, and we’ve got this.’

According to Krakauer’s account, Mrs. Tillman’s motivation for her post could stem her disdain with Pat’s original service commitment to begin with. Pat made a commitment and he intended to honor that commitment. His sense of honor possibly didn’t allow him to consider her feelings.

“He (Pat) knew his wife was miserable. But his sense of honor didn’t let him consider it,” said Krakauer to the WSJ.

One can only be left to wonder if she’s having trouble finding closure for her husband’s death … which is understandable.

What the majority of commentors seemed to have a hard time understanding,  is why she’d be caught up in the media’s hyperbole, not the facts, or, why she didn’t feel compelled to ‘fight’ when past administrations felt it necessary to temporarily seal the border and protect American citizens.

When asked by the WSJ about the lessons learned from Tillman’s sacrifice, Krakauer reminds readers a soldier’s death is anything but glorious, and surely not centered in political dogma.

He says, “It (Tillman’s death) didn’t mean anything. It speaks to the mythology of war and how we glorify it for our national interests. There is nothing glamorous or romantic about war. It’s mostly about random pointless death and misery. And that’s what his death tells us. It reminds me that the good aren’t rewarded, there’s no such thing as karma. Maybe it says something about the dangers of any sort of idealism that isn’t tempered by pragmatism or experience.”

America is undoubtedly grateful for Pat’s sacrifice. America is surely saddened for the family and their grief. If there’s any doubt of why Pat made the ultimate sacrifice, here’s a reminder of what he wholeheartedly believed: I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”

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  • Jim Verchio is a staff writer for Popular Military. As a retired Air Force Public Affairs craftsman, Jim has served at all levels. From staff writer to Editor-In-Chief, he has more than 30 years experience covering military topics in print and broadcast from the CONUS to Afghanistan. He is also a two time recipient of the DoD’s prestigious Thomas Jefferson Award for journalism excellence.

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