Guest Blogger: Pat Tillman Foundation Executive Director Kadi Tierney
It was a beautiful sunny morning in Phoenix and as I made my way to the strip mall, I passed a stretch of very cool, elaborate motorcycles parked in front of the newly dedicated Pat Tillman American Legion Post #117. I was greeted immediately by Larry, Commander of the Post and his wife Ginger who both had worked tirelessly to put the days ribbon cutting ceremony together.
Thirty minutes before the ceremony was supposed to start, the place was standing room only. The patches and bandanna-wearing set of motorcycle-riding Vietnam Vets had grown considerably and among them were the proud, older Veterans of wars long before. Within the sea of specially-made-for-the-day t-shirts were 40 and 42 jerseys, often covered by vest with patches bearing names of fallen friends or POWs never found.
They had all come together to honor a young man who passed away at 27. They had all done their own tours, they all had their own stories of sacrifice to tell but all these guys, still dealing with their own memories of war came together to hold Pat up as something so special. When I asked Larry why they decided to name the post after Pat he told me, “It was never even a question, it had to be Pat.” Some of them cried while saluting during the national anthem – I cried watching them.
Please enjoy my memories of the ribbon cutting ceremony of the Pat Tillman American Legion Post 117 on Saturday, March 6 2010.