"It is a great day in our city."

A middle school in Phoenix has become the first public school in the nation to be named after Arizona State University legend Pat Tillman.

Balsz Elementary School near 44th Street and McDowell Road is now Pat Tillman Middle School. The school is located jusr a few miles from Sun Devil Stadium where Tillman played football.

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"We get to, today, name this school after one of the greatest Americans of all time, the great Pat Tillman," said Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton at Tuesday's dedication of the new school name.

“We are incredibly humbled by the fact that the Tillman family is allowing us to honor their son through the naming of our new school,” Dr. Jeffrey Smith, superintendent of the Balsz School District, said in a statement. “Pat embodied everything it is that we want to instill in our students – bravery, patriotism, commitment, selflessness – and these fundamentals will very much be a part of the core culture at Pat Tillman Middle School.”

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Tillman played at ASU and then left his career with the Arizona Cardinals and enlisted in the U.S. Army after 9/11. He was killed by friendly fire while serving in Afghanistan.

Mayor Stanton says the kids at the school have a great example to follow.

"You have a unique responsibility to live up to the amazing standard set by Pat Tillman," said Stanton. "You can't just walk around this campus and not persevere, overcome challenges, be good students, and live a life of service, That's the responsibility of a student at Tillman School."

Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone said Tillman's legacy should teach the students that nothing is impossible.

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"He was a person who believed that nothing was impossible, that his life was an opportunity to do things that he believed in, no matter who said you couldn't accomplish it," said Penzone.


Smith said Tillman's family gave the district permission to use the Tillman name in February.

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