When it was determined that former NFL star and US Army Ranger Pat Tillman was killed by friendly fire while deployed in Afghanistan, he became one of the most high-profile casualties of the war. His wife, Marie Tillman wasn’t prepared for the overwhelming media storm that followed. “The few speaking engagements I’d made since Pat’s death had left me feeling horrible. It was bizarre having people applaud for me–Pat was the one who had gone to war. I hadn’t done anything,” she writes in her new memoir, “The Letter: My Journey Through Love, Loss and Life.” But a final communication from her husband in the form of a “just in case” letter gave her the strength to move forward. Her husband wrote to her, “Through the years, I’ve asked a great deal of you, therefore it should surprise you little that I have another favor to ask. I ask that you live.” In the eight years since his death, Marie has tried to take his advice to heart and live life to the fullest. She re-married and welcomed a baby boy, Mac Patrick, in January. She runs the Pat Tillman Foundation, which provides educational scholarships for Veterans and their Spouses and continues to be an inspiration to Military Spouses everywhere. The video above is a speech to Tillman Military Scholars. Marie offers insight on how to translate moments of personal tragedy, adversity, and reflection into catalysts for positive social change.
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