The People's Voice remembers Pat

Dan Wetzel
Yahoo! Sports

We normally try to make the People's Voice as entertaining as we can, but that is impossible this week. The overwhelming amount of feedback came in on the most serious of subjects – the combat death of Pat Tillman and other coalition soldiers.

The number of personal, heart-felt letters we received concerning this subject was overwhelming, humbling and moving. There is no doubt Tillman touched this country in a way perhaps even he couldn't imagine.

Many people wrote in asking where they could send donations. Make checks payable to the Pat Tillman Memorial Fund and include account number 1599965140. You can drop checks off at any Bank One branch in the country or send to:

The Pat Tillman Memorial Fund
Bank One
1744 E. Southern Ave.
Tempe, AZ 85282

Meanwhile, letters of condolence, appreciation and thanks for the family can be sent in care of:

Arizona Cardinals Community Relations Department
8701 South Hardy Drive
Tempe, AZ 85284-2800

There also are any number of worthwhile funds set up that help all soldiers and their families. These include the Army Emergency Relief, the Navy-Marine Corps Relief and the Air Force Aid Society. Each organization has an easy-to-find web site.

I don't profess to know Pat Tillman or his wishes, but from what we have learned about him it stands to reason he might appreciate that kind of donation more than any other.

Now on to the People's Voice. ...

PAT TILLMAN A true American hero

I'm a former Army Ranger from the 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. I had the opportunity to meet with and talk to Pat Tillman as he was in processing to the battalion. He was a solid guy with a square jaw, polished boots and a crisp uniform. His brother was also there, and they served in the same platoon.

I appreciate your story on him and how you also mentioned the faceless names that flash across your television screen in the blink of an eye. Hopefully his death and your article will send the message home that soldiers are still fighting and dying, not only in Iraq, but in Afghanistan as well.

What he did took honor and courage, and it was a selfless act. He lived like all Rangers do. He lived by the Ranger Creed.

Jon Chase
An Najaf, Iraq

My daughter is in the Army and is still in the same area of Afghanistan that Mr. Tillman was in when he died. Thank you for remembering all the other soldiers. I myself am a veteran of the armed forces and as a mother of a soldier I am grateful to those who serve their country. I was as stunned as anyone over his death, being a football fan. I'm sure his family was very proud of him.

Sometimes the news media seems to put down the military and that isn't right. The men and women of this country and as well as our allies are doing the best that they can to get rid of or slow down the forces of evil. God is always watching them and their families. Please send my condolences to the Tillman family.

Joyce Csehil
Decatur, Ill.

Thanks for putting into words what many of us were thinking. I have a brother who recently returned from a tour of duty in Iraq and I can't describe how proud of him we are and how glad we are to have him home.

Even in peacetime the sacrifices that these men go through would make your head spin and in wartime it's more than anyone can imagine. My buddies and I sit around on the weekend worrying about fantasy sports and NFL draft talk because of what these guys do for us, and you said it perfectly.

Chris Capano
Andover, Mass.

I appreciated the comment you made about Pat Tillman in that he wouldn't want to have the attention all on him, but on the military members of all branches of the military. Although I never followed his professional career, I felt that in doing what he did he was more of a role model by joining the Army than the NFL.

SSgt Kevin L. Dulaney
Maxwell Air Force Base
Montgomery, Ala.

Your piece about U.S. Army Ranger Pat Tillman, and many more stories from writers like yourself, should be dedicated to the moral values and patriotism so heroically displayed by this young man.

I am deeply saddened by his loss, yet invigorated by his memory. I spend my falls coaching Pop Warner football. I promise that this year's team (and future years) will know and understand what Army Ranger Tillman has given his country.

Jason C. Turley
Merrimack, N.H.

I'm former Navy myself, an everyday person who joined the service to serve his country, just like Tillman did. In an age of rape trials, murder-for-hire cases and steroids, his story is all the more special to prove that some athletes do indeed have a sense of honor and duty to what this country was made, allowing others like him to get paid millions of dollars to play a game, be it baseball, football, hockey or basketball.

Tom MacDevitt
South Hero, Vt.

I think you are being too kind by using "knucklehead" when referring to Simeon Rice. I think a__hole is more appropriate. Why is he making that comment anyway? Does he, deep down, feel badly that he doesn't have the courage, the values, and the commitment to take a step like that? Also, if he thinks Rambo motivates people to join the military, especially after 9/11, he has some serious problems with knowing what makes life important. It is also clear from Rice's comments that the NCAA is not doing a good enough job educating athletes.

Jason Norrett
Los Angeles, Calif.

The Tillman tragedy is best served by bringing the honor of selflessness and the reality of death to all those who simply have not yet felt the reality of this war. Tillman's death is especially painful to hear as it reminds me of a close friend and former college football star who died in Iraq last year.

Osbaldo Orozco was a great warrior at linebacker for Division I-AA Cal Poly. Knowing him both on and off the field, I was shocked at how little attention his death received. It just goes to show that every man and woman who has given their life for our country has a story that is as heroic and tragic as Tillman's. Yet this may be the first death felt for the large majority of this country's citizens.

Cliff Kensinger
Los Angeles, Calif.

Best article I've read in years. I am an enlisted airman with 18 years in the Air Force. I, too, was awestruck when I found out what Pat Tillman did back in May '02. I have often wondered of his whereabouts and how he fared in Ranger training. The military is full of men and women who have the same passion and sense of commitment that Tillman possessed. However, what makes him a hero among heroes is the way he quietly went from "limelight" to "foxhole" in order to defend and serve his country.

Charles Stringham
Warner Robins, Ga.

Your column today about Mr. Tillman actually moved me to tears. I am not from the crazy right or wacko left. I'm just a red-blooded American who loves sports and our country. In this day and age when greed is of the utmost importance and our children are being taught that winning is everything while sportsmanship is no longer important, Pat Tillman is a knight in shining armor.

I would only hope that those responsible for developing our youth in all sports in America would try to overcome the greed and selfishness that is so prevalent today and think of Pat Tillman. Like it or not, he became a role model because he loved his country.

Charlie Montague
Goodyear, Ariz.

I can't say enough about Pat Tillman and all our soldiers. The character of Pat Tillman is unbelievable. If there were more Pat Tillman's in this world, the world would be a better place. I'm so sad for the troops that have died and their families. All heroes. God bless them all.

Mark Becker
Los Angeles, Calif.

I just wanted to compliment your column on Pat Tillman. I was really annoyed watching the television this morning and seeing everyone glorifying Tillman for turning down the NFL and going into the Army. Yet what about private so-and-so who took an $18,000 salary and gave his life for his country? Where is his praise? I'm glad that you gave mention to the others who have fought for our country.

Chris Glasser
Murfreesboro, Tenn.

I'm the mother of five boys, the daughter of a U.S. Marine Corps Leader, the sister of a U.S. Marine Corps decorated Captain, the aunt of three U.S. Marine Corp Captains and the niece of Daniel Lewis Daly, one of the most decorated U.S. Marines in history. I write to you to thank you for writing about what really mattered to Pat Tillman. He was a hero for the way he served his country: quietly and with honor.

I have printed out your article for my boys – ages 11-16 – so they may see the respect with which you have written about Mr. Tillman. I know it will inspire them to be the best they can be and to choose the path they know is best for them. I have tried to raise them to understand that there is more to life than materialism and attention even though we are a financially blessed family. Your thoughts underscore their family training. Thank you.

Maureen Rorech Dunkel
Tampa, Fla.

You know, I'm not sure how all this (war in Iraq, 9/11, Tillman) would've affected me were it going on when I was in high school back in 1991. But I'd like to think that Tillman's story would've pushed me a little more towards the academies, which I ultimately walked away from in pursuit of a "normal" university. The first war in Iraq didn't affect me at all. It was over and done with in the blink of an eye. But with what's going on now, namely Tillman's selfless story, it makes me, and I'm sure countless others, want to run out and enlist.

It sort of makes us think and puts everything else in perspective. Pardon my language here, but what a MAN he was. The hell with Rocky; THIS guy is a hero. THIS guy is truly the man we all wish we could be. Pat Tillmans story needs to be told, retold and told again.

Finally, I'd like to thank you for mentioning our other courageous soldiers who, like Tillman, did it not for the fame or notoriety, but for the love, honor and defense of the red, white and blue.

M.J. Rosenthal
Dallas, Texas

Your article on Pat Tillman made me cry, not for him but for all of the kids (including him) that have given up their goals, jobs, family, children, comfort and freedom so we could have it instead. Jesus said: "No greater love hath any man than this, that he give up his life for a friend." Not just in death, but in living his (or her) life for a higher purpose.

Thanks Dan, I needed a reminder that I still live in a country that can produce true greatness and real heroes – lots of them.

Brigham Young
Moscow, Idaho

I am sure you are getting a lot of replies and comments on this article, but it truly choked me up inside. I have never thought about replying to an article or even if you guys get a chance to read these, but I just wanted to tell you that was a truly inspiring article and it made me think twice about the life I am living.

Jordan Bles
Kansas City, Mo.

I just want to say I have been thinking about this all day and when I first heard he had passed it put me to tears like when I was a little child. I could not have put it any better myself than "it is how he lived." This man is what so many of us should strive to be. I think about all the times I am selfish and I am ashamed. He truly gave more than he received and was fine with that. I will never forget the name Pat Tillman!

Derrick Miller
Fort Wayne, Ind.

Pat Tillman is a true American hero, no doubt. I just hope his sacrifice was truly for the good of our country, not Halliburton. I'd rather pay more at the pump than watch these young men and women die partially for corporate interests.

James Cross
Los Angeles, Calif.

Hooah! There are countless Americans who could be millionaires serving in our nation's military: doctors, lawyers, accountants, vets, businessmen.

We do it for service. Our country gave us the opportunity to become doctors and lawyers – and when she needs us – we selflessly return the favor.

Will M. Helixon
Captain, US Army
Senior Defense Counsel
Hanau, Germany

It's a shame so many do not have a concept of why Pat did what he did. Reminds me of our father's generation who not only saved America but the world during WWII. Most of my fellow Americans think putting themselves in harm's way is for disadvantaged ghetto kids (I'll take those kids who are our soldiers any day). These same Americans would exchange their freedoms and suffer a chain around their neck and a knee bent in servitude for the security of not having to go in harm's way.

LTC Joe Rabe
Irvine, Calif.

Pat Tillman will inspire me forever.

P.H. Buckley
Chico, Calif.

What to Read Next