People inside and outside the football world are taking time to remember Pat Tillman on the 15th anniversary of his death on Monday.
Tillman was killed while serving in Afghanistan with the United States Army on April 22, 2004. Initial claims were that Tillman was killed in a confrontation with opposing forces, but that story was an attempt to cover up the fact that Tillman was actually killed in a friendly fire incident. A member of the Afghan militia was also killed in the incident, which was revealed after a lengthy investigation into the true events of the day.
Tillman played out the 2001 season as a safety for the Cardinals before turning down a new contract and enlisting in the U.S. Army. Tillman was the only NFL player to enlist in the armed forces in the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks.
“At times like this you stop and think about just how good we have it, what kind of system we live in, and the freedoms we are allowed. A lot of my family has gone and fought in wars and I really haven’t done a damn thing,” Tillman said of his decision.
Tillman’s family started the Pat Tillman Foundation after his death and it provides active-duty service members, veterans and their spouses with academic scholarships through the Tillman Scholars program. The program has invested over $16 million and has 580 scholars in its network.
One of the signature fundraising events of the foundation is Pat’s Run in Tempe. The 4.2-mile run raised over $1 million and all 28,000 spots in this year’s run on April 27 have already been filled.