In April of 2004, a tragic but inspiring story came back from the battlefields of Afghanistan. Pat Tillman, the professional football player who’d given up his career to join the Army Rangers, had been killed.
The official account of Tillman's death described him as single-handedly saving the lives of dozens of men during an ambush. His friends, family and nation grieved. The media and government propped him up as a symbol of courage and national pride. He was awarded a posthumous Silver Star for his valor.
But five weeks later, the story about Tillman changed. The military announced in a press conference that he had actually died by friendly fire, but reiterated that he was a hero nonetheless, and continued to depict him as a symbol of the war.
Meanwhile, his friends and family grew angry with how Tillman was being used, and frustrated with their attempts to uncover the truth about how he really died. The story of their search for the truth is laid out in a new film “The Tillman Story,” which arrives in theaters August 20th.
We talk with Amir Bar-Lev, the director of “The Tillman Story.” We also talk with Pat’s close friend from the Army Rangers, Russell Baer, who appears in the film.