What the flag stands for

The Washington Post story on Pat Tillman’s death is “Ex-NFL player Tillman killed in combat.” The Post story is a good one, recalling Tillman’s telling explanation of himself:

On Sept. 11, 2001, Tillman walked into the media room at the Cardinals’ training facility and sat with reporters watching the coverage of the terror attacks, transfixed by the events of the day. In his last on-camera interview, the next day, Tillman alluded to his deep patriotism and seemed to be setting the stage for his enlistment.
“My great grandfather was at Pearl Harbor and a lot of my family has gone and fought in wars and I really haven’t done a damn thing as far as laying myself on the line like that,” he said. “And so I have a great deal of respect for those that have and what the flag stands for.”

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The Boston Globe story on Tillman’s death is “NFL player dies in Afghan firefight.” The Globe story carries Senator John McCain’s statement on Tillman’s death:

“I am heartbroken today by the news of Pat Tillman’s death. The tragic loss of this extraordinary young man will seem a heavy blow to our nation’s morale, as it is surely a grievous injury to his loved ones.
“But there is in Pat Tillman’s example, in his unexpected choice of duty to his country over the riches and other comforts of celebrity, and in his humility, such an inspiration to all as to reclaim the essential public-spiritness of Americans that many of us, in low moments, had worried was no longer our common distinguishing trait.”

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