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The Tillman Story

Updated on June 25, 2013

Football Player, War Hero, Devoted Son, Charismatic Brother, and Loving Husband. RIP Pat Tillman

Pat Tillman truly was a hero. Not just because he gave up a multimillion dollar contract in the NFL, but it was because he choose fight for his country instead. Something worth mentioning; no matter where you come from. However, that does raise a huge concern for me, as I sometimes feel I'm alone in thinking this way. Sure, Pat Tillman was a war hero but so are many of our other troops. That's one of the reasons why I could never understand for the longest time, why Pat Tillman was the only war hero ever publicly honored? Seriously, what made him so special? Because he used to play football and gave up a multimillion dollar contract to join the army? Is that the only reason? Don't get me wrong, it was a noble thing he did. However, what about the other troops? Don't they also deserve the same recognition and respect of Pat Tillman? At the time, I just couldn't understand it. After thinking about it a few days after the news of Pat's death, that's when it occurred to me that this isn't about Pat Tillman. It never was.

No, his death was used as a symbol by our government and society honoring those that have fought and died for our country over the patriotic sentiment and ideals, as the Army used his image to promote the military. And perhaps maybe...just maybe...his death was used, as a distraction to deflect attention away, from the controversy surrounding the current war. Or perhaps, it was mixture of all of the above. I guess we'll never know for sure, as there's no disputing what Pat Tillman did was very heroic. Unfortunately, for those that probably know Pat's story, then you should know that it's not one for the faint of heart.

Although it was originally believed that he died in the line of duty, it turns out through further investigation, he was actually killed due to friendly fire. To make matters worse, not only did the United States Government lie about the circumstances of his death, they even went to great lengths to cover it up, even from his own family. For those expecting this to be a full documentary on the life of Pat Tillman, then you'll be sadly mistaken. Sure, it goes over tidbits of his personal life as a child and growing up, but the documentary primarily focuses on Pat's military career, and the controversial cover up of his death.

After the reports of Pat's death by friendly fire, Pat's mom along with the rest of his family took it upon themselves to do their own research, to find out exactly why did the military lie to them and what was the real circumstances surrounding his death. They even manage to push the issue as far to the United States Supreme Court, where even former Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, had to testify. Was Pat's family successful in getting answers, I can't say. However, it was a powerfully driven documentary about one man's dedication to his country, as nobody can ever dispute that. Plus, I found it kind of interesting that his family went to such great lengths to uncover the mystery of Pat's death. Then again, wouldn't we all go through the same great lengths if the government lied to us about the circumstances of our loved one's death?

Sadly, I have to be honest here, since I do pride myself in giving honest reviews. "The Tillman Story" was a great documentary but lets face it, it was biased towards Tillman and his family. Don't get me wrong, I do feel bad for Pat and his family, as I offer my full condolences to them. I can only imagine the suffering they've endured, as I would never make light of anyone's death. However, during the documentary, Pat's mom mentioned how when he got back from Iraq, he didn't particularly care for some of the soldiers. As Mrs. Tillman eloquently said, "When he joined the service, he was doing it to serve his country, and he had this idea that all men in the military were exactly the same way." According to the documentary, Pat wasn't particularly happy that not all the troops met up to his high moral standards. Something I would've liked to have learned more about, as "The Tillman Story" was kind of vague in that area. I understand they probably didn't go into detail over something like that, as it's plainly obvious this documentary was meant to honor Pat Tillman and to expose the government for lying. However, it would've been nice to know, to keep this documentary from being biased.

Yet, I wouldn't say this is a bad documentary by any means. No, "The Tillman Story" is probably one of most emotionally driven documentaries ever made. Truly worthy of a three out of four review. What happened to Tillman was a tragedy, and a huge mistake by our own government, to cover up the true circumstances of his death, just to bolster patriotic sentiment. Sure, some can argue that the ends justify the means but at what costs?


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    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 7 years ago

      Your right, he did get a warning, but it seems his dedication and love for his country did him in, sadly. To be honest, after reading and following various news sources on Pat Tillman, I know Pat spoke very openly about some of the military procedures he didn't agree with, that most soldiers aren't allowed to discuss with civilians. Plus, even in the documentary they said he didn't particularly like certain soldiers he served with, so I'm just wondering if the Army had it out for him on day one. After all, he refused to do public interviews like they wanted him to, and the country was getting a lot of negative press due to the war, so it wouldn't surprise me that his death was a set up, in order to promote the military and glorify him as a symbol.

      Not saying that I have anything against the military, as I hold a high respect for them. However, based on what I know, I wouldn't be surprised if that were the case. Although it's sad Pat Tillman died, as I think our world would be better off if we had more men and women that were as noble to an idea as he was.

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      nanci 7 years ago

      after reading the book, when men win glory, I realize how Pat was a very good young man, who gave his life. If they had followed the rules the group wont be spilt up, and that cause him his life. Pat had a warning the first time he came home, when he got the opportunity to leave the army.