Sunday, March 29, 2009

Heroes

When the dust settled at the end of the day yesterday,
I couldn't help the fact that I had one important goal
I didn't complete for the week.
2 babies were sleeping. 5 kids were barely conscious on the couch
(watching the movie we regularly watch when Dan is gone).

So I dug through the sock basket
long enough to find the closest thing to a matching pair.
I ransacked the kid's rooms until I discovered the only charged iPod to be found.
And I started my run as the sun set.
I am pretty much a chicken when it comes to being alone in the dark.
I figured 1 mile was good for the night.

The hard part about doing anything new,
is the fact that it is so defeating in the beginning.
I can't run as far as I want.
I don't even enjoy it.

I was thinking about my new little goal.
April 18th is the Pat Tillman run in Tempe.
Dan is always working on that day,
And it wasn't until recently that I would have even considered it.
I am not a runner.
Neither was Dan until recent years.
This year, we have the opportunity to join the run.
Still, I am a little nervous about it.

Sydney has a variety of music on her iPod.
Talyor Swift, U2, The Cranberries, The Killers, The Fray...
and then there is some music, we call our 9-11 Music.
I was about to quit running when our favorite Alan Jackson came on,
"Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning."
Who doesn't remember where they were that day?
The images are still vivid and the feelings are very raw.
Every American watched in disbelief.

It was the event that had the largest impact on our little family.
With 3 little children and 1 on the way,
Dan fought the urge to enlist.
We resolved to the fact that the Home-Front is our place.

A few years ago we sat at a funeral together.
It was another event that had a great impact on our family.
The service was for a fallen firefighter and a family member.
I couldn't deny the strong emotions of that day.
Everyone who attended felt moved,
But NOT everyone felt what we felt.
It was the beginning of a new career path.

On the five-year anniversary of 9-11,
I sat next to Colin, Sydney and Caleb with a newborn in my arms
at the Phoenix dedication of our city's 9-11 Memorial.
In the back, Dan stood in formation with his Fire Academy brothers.

Once a year I teach the kids about Pat Tillman,
Who ,in my mind, is a true American Hero.
He was playing for ASU when Dan and I were there together.
We loved watching his determination.

He also played for the Cardinals with our friend.
Andy confirms all the feelings we have about Pat Tillman.
He was a stellar athlete, a kind person, very unassuming
.....and fearless.
He was a Champion,
fighting for those who cannot fight for themselves.
And making the ultimate sacrifice
of laying down his life for his friends.

At 17, he met the recruiters for ASU
who began by offering him a red-shirt position.
Pat told them he didn't care what they did with him,
but they had 4 years....and then he would be moving on.
Pat believed there was more to life than football,
but gave 100% to everything he did.
He earned his college degree in 3 1/2 years with a 3.84 GPA
When picked up by the Arizona Cardinals,
He showed up to camp on his bicycle
with his cleats dangling from the handlebars.
Even at his high salary, he still drove a modest car,
when he was not on his bike.

He owned his defeats
And gave glory for victory to his team.
He turned down a better offer
to play for another organization,
saying he couldn't leave his team.

And in the end, he walked away from a 3.6 million dollar contract
to join the Army Rangers.
He left his young wife and enlisted quietly in Colorado
with his brother.
Regardless of the scandal that surrounded his death,
Pat put his loyalty above himself,
and died doing what he believed in.

It was especially hard news to swallow.
I wish he had come home a living hero.
It makes me wonder what he would have done next.

Kids need heroes.

And there are certain heroes
we make an extra effort to teach our kids about.
Pat Tillman is one of those.


So running 4.2 miles is really nothing.
And it felt good to put Mind over Matter,
and push myself a little further beyond my limits.

1 comment:

DeANNA said...

TOMMY IS ACTUALLY LISTENING TO THE BOOK ON CD ABOUT HIS LIFE AND AFGHANISTAN ETC. AMAZING STORY. OF COURSE I WAS DRAWN EVEN FARTHER INTO IT WHEN HE TOLD ME ABOUT THE FELONY CHARGES AGAINST HIM AND THE FAMILY THAT FINALLY FORGAVE HIM FOR WHAT HE DID. HE DID, AFTER ALL, HAVE A CHOSEN PATH, BY GOD, WITH BIGGER GOALS TO ACCOMPLISH THAN EVEN HE UNDERSTOOD. I CAN'T WAIT UNTIL TOMMY IS DONE WITH THE CD'S SO I CAN LISTEN TO IT. IT SOUNDS PHENOMENAL!!!