Appearing in the Washington Post this Veterans Day is an opinion piece written by Marie Tillman. Titled in the print version “Pat Tillman and Patriotic Discourse” https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/i-was-pat-tillmans-wife-but-i-cant-speak-for-him-neither-can-you/2018/11/08/18374652-d8a0-11e8-83a2-d1c3da28d6b6_story.html?utm_term=.c0bf54e38725, it speaks of legacy.
“Over the years, I’ve become used to people wanting to know what he would have thought about something in the news, or assign a way of thinking to him based on what they know about who he was at 27. They want to freeze him in time. I find it ironic because Pat was always known as a free thinker who was constantly growing. He was very different when we got together at 16 from who he was at 27, and he would have been different, too, at 42.”
Richard Morris described this maturation of thought in one of his final blogposts, “On the wrong side of history” https://richardmorrisauthor.wordpress.com/2017/10/08/on-the-wrong-side-of-history/. As a more mature person, he was sometimes embarrassed to read his opinions of a younger age, his letters home from Vietnam, and even some of his “bloodthirsty” song lyrics plus ones documenting the history of the 5th Cavalry under the leadership of Robert E. Lee. https://richardmorrisauthor.wordpress.com/skytroopers/lyrics/.
Marie Tillman writes, “Pat lived his life with passion and respected this quality in others, once writing that, ‘to err on the side of passion is human and right and the only way I’ll live.'” Richard Morris was also passionate, especially when researching and inserting into novels the social justice issues that concerned him.
Marie Tillman continues, “Since last year, I’ve watched from the background as professional athletes have taken a knee to draw attention to injustice and racial inequality in the United States. Pat was in the military, so many people want to attach a brand of blind allegiance to him and use him to argue that kneeling during the national anthem is unpatriotic. Pat was also against the Iraq War, so many others want to use him to argue against American involvement in overseas wars. His essence is bent to fit an agenda.” Luckily, Richard Morris was not an icon whose memory can easily be manipulated. Additionally, since his death was less than one year ago, he has already spoken with regard to many current political issues and interpretations.
Thank you for your service, Pat Tillman and Richard Morris and all the others.