I never knew Brian Bill or Pat Tilman but I admired them more than anyone I've ever met, outside
of my parents. Bill and Tilman took very different paths to the military, but tragically, both suffered
the same fate, dying as they fought for our freedom.
As the nation took a breath from the mind-blowing events at Penn State and paid tribute on Friday
to those who fought and died while serving our country, I couldn't help but think of Bill and Tilman
and how they made the ultimate sacrifice for the United States.
A lot of people say they love our country, but if someone took a poll, it would probably come after money, family, sex, Facebook, and before the IPad and the IPhone in the rankings of what we like
the most in our everyday lives. There are few people who would actually fight for our country and
do the things necessary to protect our freedom which we take for granted every single day. Yes,
we do. Each of us takes our freedom for granted all the time. Oh, sure, there are moments when we appreciate it, like when those who died fight for it, come home in a casket or an act of terrorism
is thwarted. It's sad, but not many of us can say that it's not true.
Tilman gave up millions that came his way from playing in the NFL. But after 9/11, the former
Arizona Cardinals safety said, "football's not important to me, serving my country is." He became
a Ranger and went on a few missions before he was killed by his own battalion in a dangerous
canyon in Afghanistan. It was sad, tragic, and made even worse because the government lied to
everybody at first,saying that Tilman was a hero and killed by enemy forces. But what Tilman did,
giving up the riches and the good life of the NFL, to serve our country should be admired. He
should be remembered and admired along with the others who fought and died in wars that tried
to rid evil and destruction
Brian Bill wasn't a former NFL player, but he was a man who was a great athlete and a person
who had accomplished so much. He was a triathlete, mountaineer, spoke French fluently and
aspired to be an astronaut. Bill became a Navy SEAL and was a member of the elite Team Six.
He was bold, brave, and more courageous that most of us could only dream of being. Bill was
killed along with more than 25 other SEAL's when their helicopter they were traveling in, was
brought down by a rocket-propelled grenade in Afghanistan.
Tilman and Bill were in the prime of their lives with so much ahead of them. But they, like so many others, never made it back to home soil. It's so sad that we sometimes forget about the people who are still
fighting faceless enemies in Iraq and Afghanistan, in wars most of us really don't support anymore. It's
really sad that most people don't think of the dangers our troops experience everyday, many of them
not even old enough to legally drink yet, fighting to protect our freedom. Fighting for our freedom. That statement sometimes seems corny. But it is very real. Tilman and Bill are real heroes and I'll never forget
the sacrifice they, along with so many others, made for us and our freedom. That's what
I'm thinking about on this Memorial Day.