A Hawkeye Tribute to Heroes

Sometimes, even the most heartfelt, well-chosen words aren’t possibly enough. Only silence can measure the depth of grief; only an image can capture an agonizing loss.

This past week, a widely circulated photograph from a funeral touched the hearts of countless people across Iowa and the United States. The sight of Hawkeye the dog prostrate on the floor beside the coffin of his owner, U.S. Navy SEAL Jon Tumilson, starkly expressed the horrors of war and the enduring power of love.

Prompted by an article on NBC Sports’ College Football Talk website, football fans and others began urging the University of Iowa to honor Tumilson—a lifelong Iowa fan who died on a mission in Afghanistan—by allowing his dog to lead the Hawkeye team onto the field at Kinnick during this season’s opening game.

In the last few days, the UI Athletics department released a statement, saying that it’s working with Tumilson’s family to decide the best way to honor the fallen SEAL and others who have sacrificed their lives in service to their community, state, and nation. It looks like Hawkeye the dog may appear at a game at Kinnick Stadium this November.

If that happens, the hubbub of game day will hush; the fans will grow quiet. And the profound silence will say everything.

Tina Owen

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