Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Tillmans

I've always believed that there is particular honor involved in taking some jobs, a short list would include soldiering, policing, fighting fires. There are plenty more, but I have a point that references these more closely. These jobs involve personal risk, service to our fellows, and generally lower pay, soldiers lowest. Nobody taking these jobs is a hero for doing so, they deserve special regard, but heroism is another thing. This is where things run off the tracks.

Pat Tillman left a good paying rather glamorous job to serve his country, for that he deserved special regard, perhaps more than many enlistees since he had a very good alternative job. This kind of measuring is risky business, but in search of service he gave up quite a bit. Then he gave it all up, his life. Death in battle whether from foe or fratricide is death, the ultimate sacrifice for your country, you can give no more than that. Death in battle is not glamorous, it involves shredded flesh and pain and an aloneness that can only be marginally comprehended. Far from home and friends and cheering crowds Pat Tillman gave it all up - and it wasn't enough. Friendly fire wasn't the only mistake, the lying began.

The dirty bloody cruel business of war apparently needed some PR. A family and a nation were lied to, not just mislead, not mistakenly misinformed, deliberately lied to. A family in grief was sacrificed to spin - the nice name for political lying - the manufacture of a hero. There are people who do heroic things and their heroism should never be devalued by lies or by calling a job heroic. I have no idea if Pat Tillman ever did anything heroic, his death was not, it was a mistake. He did an honorable thing in serving, that in itself should have been sufficient, but somebody, or somebodies wanted more and that was as wrong a thing as could have been done to his honor.

Our soldiers deserve at the very least to know that their reputations will be treated with respect, that they will be honored for what they have done. I give them that, freely and with no help from the liars.


Sparky said...

You're totally right.

Some of us have cushy jobs inside, where we're not shat and we can get our own coffee. Then others take on the dirty ones.

Some might say these people do it for glory; but I believe that some of these people are called to it by a higher power.

I have always felt that way about the cat lady.
She helps out the feline refuse in our parking lots and our cul-de-sacs, pays for their medicine and their neutering from her pocket, and she winds up on the bottom most of the time.

Sparky said...

what happened? that should have been 'shot' :(

Steve Culley said...

Tillman went up a hill to provide cover to part of his unit that was being ambushed. War is messy and friendly fire happens. I helped load the body of a young marine who was killed by his best friend in the dark onto a tank. Makes no difference if he was killed by accident or by the enemy. He was there doing what good soldiers do. And yes he seems to be a throw back to previous generations. Many athletes during WW2 volunteered for combat as did the kids of some prominent families, Kennedy, Bush and others. Not so with the following generations of Viet Nam.

Chuck Butcher said...

Sparky and Steve hit this from different directions and accurately. Service to your fellows is one of the most admirable aspects of character, and it does not require glory to be a fact. Heroism is another thing and should stand on its own.

Yep, Steve, the rich and famous went to to war at one time. That is one point you have to give to Kerry and Gore, they did.