When you think about late Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney, you think about football, Pittsburgh and of course, the Steelers.
But you also think about something else that was near and dear to his heart.
Ireland and the Rooney’s strong Irish heritage.
That was on display on Saturday for the second straight as year members of the Rooney family took part in Pittsburgh’s St. Patrick’s Day parade in memory of Dan Rooney. Last year the parade was dedicated to him, and this year they were celebrating the 10th anniversary of him being named the United States Ambassador to Ireland by former President Barack Obama.
“Outside of football and family, it was the most meaningful recognition he ever received,” said his son Jim Rooney. “There is no task he was given that he didn’t do 150 percent. He went over to represent America in a simple way in Dublin, and was the first Ambassador to go to all 32 counties. He wanted to communicate the value of the American way of life and how important the values we have are to the rest of the world, to the small towns and villages in Ireland. I think he did it well. It was a message of hope, which he believed strongly in and the President appreciated. The relationship between Ireland and America was at its best when he left the position.”
Jim Rooney and other members of the Rooney family rode in a Steelers wrapped Ford truck in the parade, while several current and former players were also on hand, many of them wearing ‘DMR’ shamrock t-shirts, followed by The Steeline Drum Line and Steely McBeam.
“The parade in itself, and all of St. Patrick’s Day, is a reminder of Ireland and our family’s connection and what they learned from their family,” said Jim Rooney. “They learned the values that led them to success. Those values were taught to them when they were children. To have a day for all of America to celebrate is something they enjoyed and the parade became a representation of it.
“To have the Steelers be a part of the parade, I don’t think there is a way you could mark this day that he would appreciate more.”