10) Pat Tillman
Inspired to serve his country after the Twin Towers tumbled, Pat Tillman left behind a respectable football career as a safety on the Phoenix Cardinals to join the hardbody Army Rangers. Tragically, on April 22, 2004, when Tillman was gunned down on patrol in Afghanistan, he became the first professional football player to die in combat since the Buffalo Bills' Bob Kalsu was killed in Vietnam in 1970. Although Pat was quickly deified by pro-war zealots and the flag-waving NFL as a hero who had made the ultimate sacrifice, few knew the real story of his battlefield demise; originally reported as a casualty of an ambush from hostile forces, it later emerged that the Army had covered up the fact that Tillman was killed by "friendly fire” in a case of mistaken identity. "They realized that their recruiting efforts were going to go to hell in a handbasket if the truth about his death got out,” said his enraged father, Patrick Tillman Sr. "They blew up their poster boy.” The drama gets deeper—according to fellow troops, Tillman despised President Bush, planned on meeting anti-war writer Noam Chomsky and described the Iraq invasion as "so fucking illegal.”

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