July 5, 2004
DECATUR, Ala. -- Pat Tillman, who quit the NFL to join the Army and was killed in Afghanistan earlier this year, was posthumously given the Audie Murphy Patriotism Award.
The annual award, named for the most highly decorated U.S. soldier of World War II, was presented at a Fourth of July celebration Sunday.
The award was given to the newly formed Pat Tillman Foundation, formed to carry on Tillman's spirit by helping families of soldiers killed overseas.
Tillman's brother-in-law, Alex Garwood, who is president of the foundation, accepted the award along with Tillman's parents, Pat and Mary Tillman, who also attended.
"Pat would be very humbled by this," Garwood said. "He first would say thank you. Then he would find the people who were responsible and look them in the eye and say thank you."
Tillman, who gave up a $3.6 million pro football contract to become an Army Ranger, was shot to death on April 22. A military investigation concluded he was likely killed mistakenly by fire from other U.S. troops.
Past winners of the patriotism award include World War II Gen. Omar Bradley; the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment for its service in Vietnam; former astronaut John Young; and the late country singer Johnny Cash.