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Marie Tillman, widow of Pat Tillman, has asked for her husband’s death not to be politicized by President Donald Trump, in a statement to CNN.
Pat Tillman is a former NFL safety for the Arizona Cardinals who walked away from his NFL contract to join the Army Rangers in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. He served several tours of duty and died during a friendly-fire incident while serving in Afghanistan in 2004.
“As a football player and soldier, Pat inspired countless Americans to unify,” Tillman told CNN.”It is my hope that his memory should always remind people that we must come together. Pat’s service, along with that of every man and woman’s service, should never be politicized in a way that divides us. We are too great of a country for that. Those that serve fight for the American ideals of freedom, justice and democracy. They and their families know the cost of that fight. I know the very personal costs in a way I feel acutely every day.”
The request came after Trump retweeted an image of Tillman with a message urging people to stand for the anthem.
“The very action of self-expression and the freedom to speak from one’s heart – no matter those views – is what Pat and so many other Americans have given their lives for,” Tillman said.
“Even if they didn’t always agree with those views. It is my sincere hope that our leaders both understand and learn from the lessons of Pat’s life and death, and also those of so many other brave Americans.”
CNN reporter Brian Stetler added that Tillman hoped her message would reach the president.