Tribute at Opening of Hoover Dam Bypass

(At the opening of the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge over Hoover Dam, Mike’s daughter Mary Colleen O’Callaghan-Miele wrote a tribute to her late father, a former Nevada governor and Korean War veteran. She also wrote about the late Pat Tillman, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan and a former NFL player. Her tribute, to be published in the Nov. 2010 Veterans Reporter newspaper, is also noted below.)
          A bridge memorialized after Mike O’Callaghan and Pat Tillman is not only an honor and humbling but it is apropos. Two men, one lived his life to serve his country, the other lost his life while serving his country. Each man represented not only Nevada and Arizona, but America. Every American who lives life with a purpose and vision ultimately leaves a legacy for others to consider.
          Mike O’Callaghan served in three of the four branches of the military and ultimately lost a leg in the Korean War. My father’s fight did not end there, he continued his mission fighting for human rights for Nevadans, Americans across this country and around the world. His vision was for people to be empowered with the knowledge, tools and support to be able to live and enjoy their lives while building bridges of opportunity and mutual empowerment for others to cross.
          Pat Tillman didn’t have a lifetime to make the differences that Mike O’Callaghan had, yet, he didn’t need a lifetime; after 9/11 Pat Tillman made a decision. That one decision would forever change the lives of his family, friends and Americans such as you and me. Pat gave up a professional NFL football player’s life fighting for victory with his team on the field, for a life fighting for the freedom and the protection of others. He did this by taking his cleats off the football field in exchange for placing Army boots on the battlefield as an American soldier in the United States Army fighting in Afghanistan.
          As a daughter, Nevadan and American I am honored while humbled that the naming of one of our nation’s wonders is memorialized after Americans who sacrificed fame for the love of their state, country and all of humanity.
                                                     –Mary Colleen O’Callaghan-Miele. Oct. 11, 2010.