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Pat Tillman and Self-Sacrifice: A Different Direction

45 min

Walk-In-The-Shoes Questions
As you read, imagine you are the protagonist.

  • What challenges are you facing?
  • What fears or concerns might you have?
  • What may prevent you from acting in the way you ought?

Observation Questions

  • Self-sacrifice is related to the classical virtue of temperance and could refer to moderating our own excesses as well as controlling desires in the interest of something better or nobler. In what ways did Pat Tillman demonstrate self-sacrifice even before he enlisted in the Army?
  • Tillman said in an interview, “My great-grandfather was at Pearl Harbor. And a lot of my family has . . . gone and fought in wars.  And I really haven’t done a . . . thing as far as laying myself on the line like that.  So I have a great deal of respect for those who have.” What did he understand his identity to be in 2001 and how did he compare that to the identity of those who have served in the military?
  • What did Pat Tillman understand his purpose to be, and how did it change in the period from 1998 to 2004?

Discussion Questions
Discuss the following questions with your students.

  • What is the historical context of the narrative?
  • What historical circumstances presented a challenge to the protagonist?
  • How and why did the individual exhibit a moral and/or civic virtue in facing and overcoming the challenge?
  • How did the exercise of the virtue benefit civil society?
  • How might exercise of the virtue benefit the protagonist?
  • What might the exercise of the virtue cost the protagonist?
  • Would you react the same under similar circumstances? Why or why not?
  • How can you act similarly in your own life? What obstacles must you overcome in order to do so?
  • Students will analyze Pat Tillman’s character as a gifted athlete and patriotic American.
  • Students will examine Tillman’s demonstrations of self-sacrifice.
  • Students will understand why self-sacrifice is an essential virtue in their own lives.
  • Students will demonstrate self-sacrifice when faced with the choice of pursuing their own goals or pursuing nobler goals.

Student Handouts