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Looking for Our State’s Pat Tillman

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The story of Pat Tillman has been told often.

As it should be.

He gave up his career in the NFL, turning down a $3.6 million contract offer from Arizona and enlisting in the Army. He did so in the aftermath of Sept. 11, an event that touched something in Tillman’s soul. He hated what he’d seen happen on his homeland, and as a man who had spent his life striving to defeat every opponent, he decided to turn that focus from NFL teams to enemies abroad.

Tillman paid the ultimate price, being killed by friendly fire in the mountains of Afghanistan.

The thing is, there are thousands of men and women who, just like Pat Tillman, were motivated to join the military in the aftermath of Sept. 11.

And my guess is, there are many who, just like Pat Tillman, were athletes. High school athletes. College athletes. Rec athletes. They felt their competitive juices kick in on Sept. 11, and they turned that defeat-any-opponent, win-every-battle mentality toward al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

I am looking to share those stories on the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11.

Do you know someone who has a story to share? Do you have one of your own?

Please post a comment below or email me at

Remember, I am looking for people who:

1. Played sports.

2. Were affected by the events of Sept. 11.

3. Joined the military.

People with ties to the state of Oklahoma are preferred.

Every member of the military in a time of war makes sacrifices. All spend time away from family. Some have physical scars. Some lose their lives. Each and every one of those servicemen and servicewomen have a story of sacrifice worth sharing.

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Jenni Carlson

Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football... Read more ›