05/04/2004: An atheist in the foxhole?
If this is true, my respect for Pat Tillman, already considerable, just took a big bump up. From the San Francisco Chronicle website:
Just when we thought we had a pure and simple hero, a millionaire athlete who gave up wealth and fame to become the ideal patriot, to make the ultimate sacrifice, his friends and family complicated everything. They turned Pat Tillman into a human being Monday, showing us what was really lost during that ambush in Afghanistan, insisting that we question every assumption we've made since he died an icon on April 22.Granted, "wasn't religious" doesn't translate into "atheist", but it does provide a refreshing change from the "Onward Christian soldiers" picture that the war on Terra™ has been painting lately.
Yes, there were uplifting tales, moments when tears and pride swelled in everyone watching Tillman's memorial service at the San Jose Municipal Rose Garden. There were jarring moments, too, and they carried the message of the afternoon -- "challenge yourself" -- more powerfully than those laden with conventional inspiration.
Tillman's youngest brother, Rich, wore a rumpled white T-shirt, no jacket, no tie, no collar, and immediately swore into the microphone. He hadn't written anything, he said, and with the starkest honesty, he asked mourners to hold their spiritual bromides.
"Pat isn't with God,'' he said. "He's f -- ing dead. He wasn't religious. So thank you for your thoughts, but he's f -- ing dead.''
Len on 05.04.04 @ 01:03 PM CST