I heard a newstory on the radio today that put me in mind of our group discussion about heroes last week. It wasn't on the mainstream media in the US (who wouldn't touch this story with a 50 foot pole since they're cowards and collaborators).
Pat Tillman is famous in America for being a hotshot football player who gave up a lucrative sports contract to enlist in the military after 9/11 and got posted to Afghanistan. There he was killed in the line of duty. At first, the American armed forces used him as a posthumous spokesperson for the so-called "War on Terror" because he was an all-American sports hero who got killed fighting for freedom (or something). Then it finally emerged that 1) he was killed by 'friendly fire' and 2) the military actively covered that up to use him as a poster child for the war. After that revelation, the US media pretty much stopped covering his story.
Which is a shame because it got even more interesting. Because of his popularity, Tillman was given a large funeral recently. Some shameless celebrities and politicians got up and spoke about how 'he is with God now.' Then Tillman's brother got up and said:
"Thanks Pat. I didn't write shit because I'm not a writer. I'm not just going to sit here and break down on you. But thanks for coming. Pat's a fucking champion and always will be. Just make no mistake, he'd want me to say this: He's not with God. He's fucking dead. He's not religious. So, thanks for your thoughts, but he's fucking dead. (transcribed by the Uncivil Litigator on his blog.)
It seems that Tillman, according to his family, was an active freethinker and a probable atheist. He was outspoken about his opposition to the Iraqi occupation, and in life actively resisted being used for its propaganda (even if, ironically, tragically, the Bush administration attempted to do just that with his death). If the mainstream media were unwilling to present his true character before, they certainly are now.
I never would have thought I'd consider an ex-professional athlete / military man a hero, but the more I learn about Tillman, the more impressed I am at his courage and principles. Here are some more references to Tillman's story:
Pat Tillman Our Hero
Brother of Pat Tillman accuses military of deception
Pat Tillman is Atheist Worm Dirt