Archive for Thursday, April 29, 2004

Opinion: Everyday heroes

April 29, 2004

An old Army veteran once told me the difference between martyrs and heroes is that martyrs would die for their country but heroes would rather live for theirs.

When thinking about the death of Pat Tillman, the former Arizona Cardinals safety turned Army Ranger who was killed during a firefight with rebels in Afghanistan last week, that phrase came to mind.

For some time since hearing of Tillman's fate, I tried to tie the two together but I just couldn't find the correlation. However, today, I think I may have a grasp as to why the Tillman news attached itself to the old vet's words of wisdom.

I searched long and hard for the answer (once it hit me I realized how simplistic it was) and here is what I came up with.

As long as America has heroes (by no means think that I'm speaking solely of Tillman here), and as long as our enemies have martyrs, we can't be defeated.

It's kind of like Patton said (I'm using the edited version), nobody ever won a war by dying for their country. Wars are won by making the other guy die for his.

Tillman is not the only hero in America. We see them everyday in our soldiers, police officers and firefighters, people who risk their lives in the name of country and service.

I've never worn a uniform, rushed into a burning building or fired a weapon. Thanks to those people who have and do, I don't ever have to.

Should we care about the story of Tillman? Absolutely. Should we remember his sacrifice? Without question.

But, what we shouldn't lose track of in the media blitzkrieg surrounding the Tillman story, which I grant you is amazing, is that America's most prosperous industry is the production of heroes. Soldiers at Gettysburg, Normandy and Khe Sanh who were not fortunate enough to have worn a helmet and pads before going to war, are just as worthy of our admiration as Tillman.

Enemies of America can keep their martyrs. I'll take my chances with heroes.

Notes:

  • Someone needs to give Maurice Clarrett some ear muffs, $10 a day in meal money and a one-way bus ticket to Canada.

Clarrett, the ultra-average running back from Ohio State, lost his appeal to the United States Supreme Court last week barring him from entering the NFL Draft.

NFL rules prohibited Clarrett from entering the draft but he sued the league in hopes that the court would overturn the NFL's ruling. After he lost, and because he could not return to Ohio State, Clarrett appealed the ruling, and the Supreme Court heard the case.

I don't know about you, but I'm just pleased that our Supreme Court is taking the time to tackle difficult issues like Clarrett's instead of those pesky teasers like gun control, freedom of speech and the death penalty.

I mean, doesn't the career of some has-been-before-he-ever-was running back mean more to the future of America than does that testy little Bill of Rights?

On behalf of the guys sitting on death row waiting for their appeals to be heard, I just want to say thanks, Mo.

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