Marie Tillman, the wife of former NFL football star, Pat Tillman, who stepped away from football at the age of 25 to join the Army following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, has expressed disappointment in Donald Trump’s decision via executive order to temporarily ban immigration from citizens of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia.
According to Sporting News, Marie Tillman, who was widowed when Pat Tillman was killed by friendly fire during an ambush in Afghanistan in 2004, posted a message to her Facebook account criticizing Trump’s decision, saying it’s not a decision her husband would have supported.
“In 2002 my husband enlisted in the US Army, he stood up to serve because he believed in the principles on which our country was founded and, recognizing it wasn’t perfect, was passionate about what it could be,” Tillman wrote on Facebook. “Today I am deeply saddened by the news of the executive order banning immigration. This is not the country he dreamed of, not what he served for and not what he died for. Since his death I have embarked on the most meaningful work of my life, supporting the men and women who, like Pat, fight for what this country can be. As I read posts from the community of #Tillman Scholars on my Facebook feed I am encouraged; they are exactly as I knew they would be, poised and ready to fight. I am proud of them and proud to stand with them, we’ve got this.”
According to CBS News, Pat Tillman was killed in in Afghanistan in 2004 as a result of friendly fire during an ambush situation. The family were reportedly not given clear details by the military and were led to believe Tillman died as a result of enemy fire, not learning for about five weeks the truth of what happened.
Pat Tillman made the decision to leave the NFL and join the Army out of a sense of patriotic duty to his country, according to CBS News.
“You know, my great-grandfather was at Pearl Harbor, and a lot of my family has given up, has gone and fought in wars, and I really haven’t done a damn thing, as far as laying myself on the line like that. And so I have a great deal of appreciation for those who have,” Pat Tillman said at the time.
After Pat Tillman’s death, Marie Tillman and his family founded the Pat Tillman Foundation, which provides scholarships for military veterans and their spouses. The foundation’s website claims it has awarded over $14 million in scholarships since 2004 to 460 recipients, beginning with a $1.25 million dollar pledge for a scholarship program at Arizona State University, where Pat Tillman attended school before being drafted by the Arizona Cardinals.
Donald Trump’s immigration ban is a hot-button political issue at the moment, causing protests at airports across the country this past weekend due to immigrants with Visas from the seven countries affected by the ban to be detained and refused entry. A group of lawyers from the ACLU challenged the ban in court, receiving a temporary block from deportations from a federal judge in New York, according to theThe Chicago Tribune.
Donald Trump and administration officials are staunchly defending the immigration ban, saying it is necessary for the safety and security of the United States and that over the course of the next 90 days, case-by-case decisions will be made to allow those with visas re-entry. However, there does seem to be some confusion over how the ban will impact current visa and green card holders, indicating that the extent of the impact of the ban’s implementation was not carefully weighed by the administration prior to the signing of the executive order.
Pat Tillman’s exact stance on Donald Trump’s immigration ban can never be known due to his tragic death, but Marie Tillman apparently feels confident in stating what his opinion would have been. Her decision to go public with her thoughts is sure to bring her a fair amount of both praise and criticism regarding an issue that is currently dividing much of the country.
[Featured Image by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images]