I clearly remember the Sports Illustrated feature and cover that ran a tribute to Pat Tillman after he died and the inspiration of his life story. So when a friend recommended Jon Krakauer’s Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman, I immediately checked it out at the library. Not only does this book focus on the man Tillman was, but on how everything was handled after his death. What I appreciated about this book was it forced you to look at how everything played out, from the history of the war, to the events after 9/11 (from Afghanistan to Iraq) and also the specifics about the government’s handling of how Tillman died (first released as killed by enemy fire, but Tillman died from friendly fire). With his quality journalism and research, Krakauer really makes you think. I love books like that.
But more importantly, for me, it provided a look into the world of who Tillman was. What drove him, what inspired him and what was important to him. A man dedicated to doing what was right, being the best brother, son and husband he could be and doing what was necessary to make things right (i.e. while he enlisted to avenge 9/11, he thought the invasion of Iraq was illegal and unjust, but he still choose the serve his country when he was sent to Iraq).
I’ll end with part of the journal entry he wrote after he decided to enlist:
However, it is not enough. For much of my life I’ve tried to follow a path I believed important. Sports embodied many of the qualities I deem meaningful: courage, toughness, strength, etc., while at the same time, the attention I received reinforced its seeming importance. In the pursuit of athletics I have picked up a college degree, learned invaluable lessons, met incredible people, and made my journey much more valuable than any destination. However, these last few years, and especially after recent events, I’ve come to appreciate just how shallow and insignificant my role is. I’m no longer satisfied with the path I’ve been following…it’s no longer important….I am equally positive that this new direction will, in the end, make our lives fuller, richer, and more meaningful. (pg 138)
I highly recommend this book!