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Original Issue


Pat Tillman

This letter is almost three years too late; I meant to write it
when I first heard of Pat Tillman's amazing sacrifice in honor of
those who died on Sept. 11, including my brother, William C.
Hunt. Gary Smith does a great job of capturing Tillman's
thoughts, feelings and emotions from his recruiting trip to
Arizona State through his final moments in the woods of
Afghanistan (Code of Honor, May 3). Reading the article, I felt
the devotion of a young man who truly knew that he would make a
difference in life.
Dan Hunt, Waltham, Mass.

I am not inspired by Tillman's choice to leave millions of
dollars and a career in the NFL behind. I'm more inspired by his
conviction that he must serve America--to preserve our
freedoms--and his desire to remain anonymous.
Brett Gingold, Bend, Ore.

Tillman wouldn't have wanted you to glorify him for losing his
life while serving his country. Shame on you for not honoring the
simple request of a soldier who, like so many other brave men and
women, died for the freedom we cherish today.
Stephen M. Johnson, Lynchburg, Va.

Pat Tillman became a hero the day he enlisted in the Army, not
the day he died in the mountains of Afghanistan.
Jonathan Levin, New York City

Split Vote

I know the public does not understand the global war on
terrorism. I know this because Rick Reilly and, undoubtedly,
countless others are furious that it takes the lives of soldiers
like Pat Tillman and Todd Bates (The Life of Reilly, May 3).
Well, I'm furious, too. As an Army officer who recently served in
Iraq and who was privileged to command a soldier who made the
ultimate sacrifice, I know too well the cost of this war. We have
the power to help a people in need escape the bonds of tyranny,
and for that reason alone we have the responsibility to do so.
Yes, the cost of freedom can be unbearably high, but the cost of
indifference is unconscionable.
Capt. Rick Burtt, U.S. Army
Arvada, Colo.

Reilly is entitled to his opinions about the war, but a sports
magazine is not the place to air those views.
Paul Curran, Clarks Green, Pa.

Is Reilly honoring or insulting Tillman and Bates? He seems to
honor these men for making the ultimate sacrifice for a cause
they believed was worth dying for, but at the end he claims the
war they fought was started "with no just cause and continues
with no just reason." I hope it wasn't his intention to devalue
the lives of these two men, but I think he did.
Damon Ramos, Santa Monica, Calif.

As a loyal American, I'm proud of Tillman and just as proud of
Bates and, like Reilly, mad as hell about the cavalier way their
lives were thrown away. As soon as I'm through with this note,
I'm going to renew my subscription to make up for the disgruntled
readers who will cancel theirs.
John Sims Jr., Jeffersonville, Ind.

As Americans, we honor those who have perished by exercising one
of the great gifts they have given us: the right to vote.
Thomas Glass, Harrisburg, Pa.

Reilly movingly expresses the thoughts and feelings of many
Americans who believe that it is indeed patriotic to take a stand
against this senseless war.
Jeff Creswell, Portland

After Sept. 11, Afghanistan was a necessary war. Iraq clearly was
not. Had we finished the job we started in Afghanistan and not
stripped it of military assets to send to Iraq, both Pat and Todd
might still be alive today, along with hundreds of others of
America's finest men and women.
Lieut. Col. Bob McMullin
U.S. Army (ret.), Burke, Va.

Measuring Manning

It is ironic that only a few pages separated stories about
Tillman and Eli Manning (What a Manning Wants, May 3). While
Tillman gave his life for the very freedom that makes this
country what it is, Manning manipulated the NFL draft for his own
gain. I am sure that the majority of this country realizes that
the real American heroes are in the rubble of the Twin Towers and
the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq, and not on the playing
fields of the NFL.
Rick Diggs, Severna Park, Md.

The Face of a Soldier

I enjoyed Reilly's column, but I wish that a picture of Todd
Bates would have been included. Reilly wrote, "Bates wanted to be
somebody and died faceless to most of the nation." How could SI
have let him remain faceless to your readers? I appreciate the
sacrifice that these two wonderful men, and many others like
them, have made for our nation. I will keep their families in my
thoughts and prayers.
Peggy Kaiser, Louisville

COLOR PHOTO: GENE LOWER/SLINGSHOT (COVER) PUBLIC DEBATE The May 3 issue drew over 3,300 letters, an SI record.

TWO COLOR PHOTOS: TWO FAMILY PHOTOS VIA THE TIMES LEADER/AP TODD BATES, an Army specialist, played linebacker for Bellaire (Ohio) High.

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