TEMPE, Ariz. (KSAZ) -- Leaders of Arizona State University’s Pat Tillman Veterans Center are remembering the legacy of Pat Tillman on Election Day. November 6, 2018 was Pat Tillman's 42nd birthday.
The number 42 was also his football jersey when he used to play at ASU. After graduating from college, Tillman played for the Arizona Cardinals until he gave up his football career to serve his country, after the 9/11 attacks.
The university is now taking this whole week to celebrate not only Pat Tillman’s legacy but honor the military as a whole with Salute to Service week, leading up to Veteran’s Day.
Leaders at the veterans center talked about their admiration for him, giving up a multi-million dollar contract to make the ultimate sacrifice for his country.
“He had a NFL contract. He was admitted to the big time, but what he determined in his own mind, there was something more, there was something bigger,” said Shawn Banzhaf, Military Advocate.
Tillman was also recently inducted into the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame. ASU students, who work at the veterans center, said they make sure to share Tillman’s legacy with their friends when the opportunity arises.
“They’re like, who is Pat Tillman? And I’m like ok, here we go,” said Destiny Mendoza, ASU Student. “A lot of our military servicemen and women do not get that much credit or spotlight for the things they do for us, so I really like how this is a good remembrance and a good way to like represent everybody.”
Mendoza also gave a proud shout out to her father, SFP Shawn Mendoza, Sergeant First Class. She said he was a tank commander, who served for 15 years in the U.S. Army.
ASU’s Salute to service will be focusing not only on Tillman’s sacrifice, but all men and women in uniform. Two major games coming up with special military tributes, include the ASU vs. UCLA football game on Saturday.
“The Black Daggers of the Special Forces, they parachute into the stadium. So if you want to be part of that, make sure to come early,” said Banzhaf.
The Rez Women’s Basketball Game watch party (ASU vs Baylor) will take place on Sunday. The game will also give a tribute to the military and the Native-American community.
Michelle Loposky, the Assistant Director of Outreach and Engagement, said she hopes her students will follow in the footsteps of Tillman and “see the potential in themselves, to challenge themselves to continually to live in that excellence mindset that they learn in the military.”
Full Schedule of Salute to Service