Hawks to honor military with fallen soldier’s dog

BY DI STAFF | AUGUST 31, 2011 7:20 AM

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The Iowa football team will honor fallen military and public-service members at an undecided game in November, the team announced on Tuesday.

The salute to the troops will loosely coincide with Veteran’s Day, Nov. 11; the Hawkeyes will play at home on Nov. 5 and Nov. 12.

The idea for the ceremony gained traction following the death of U.S. Navy SEAL Jon Tumilson, one of the 30 Americans killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan on Aug. 6. The Tumilson family received attention when the Iowa native’s pet dog, Hawkeye, lay next to the soldier’s casket during his funeral service.

A YouTube video of the service has been viewed more than 6 million times and spawned a national push to have the dog lead the Hawkeyes onto the field for the team’s season-opener on Saturday.

The university hasn’t yet decided what role the Labrador retriever will play in November, but Iowa Athletics Director Gary Barta said in a statement that the choice to not involve the Tumilson family this Saturday was deliberate.

“We wanted to be respectful of Jon’s family and friends and others who are still grieving,” he said. “Jon’s death is a tragedy that reminds us of the great personal sacrifice made by many who serve our country, our state, and our community. We are very pleased that Jon’s family has agreed to allow us to honor Jon and all citizens lost while serving others later this fall.”

— by Seth Roberts

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