An eye-opening visit with heroes

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Stephon Tuitt sat back in his chair and listened. Listened to the stories, listened to history lessons, listened to what life was like for those who did battle in the war. And the more he listened, the more he learned, and his appreciation for those who served in the military increased.

Tuitt was one of three Steelers who visited the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, taking the time to thank the veterans for their service to our country as a part of the team honoring Veterans Day today.  

"I got a chance to see life from a different eye, an eye that is wiser than me," said Tuitt. "That is the good thing. You get a chance to get some knowledge of what is happening, what's gone on, to share things for how it is now.

"The stuff they were telling me, it's crazy stuff. At the end of the day, what we all agreed it's a blessing for them to still be alive today because of everything that happened. You get a chance to see people who have been in the military, done things like that. I have a brother who is getting in the military, he is young. It puts me at a better perspective knowing they are helping America in a way that we aren't able to do or have the courage to do."

While Tuitt gained a whole new perspective on what life was like for the veterans, Alejandro Villanueva had a different perspective. Villanueva is a football player, he is the Steelers starting left tackle. But he is also a veteran, a former Army Ranger who understands what the veterans have been through, but he isn't looking to be thanked, instead looking to say thanks.  

"To come here to the VA, which is a great organization, and spend time with them is something special," said Villanueva. "Every single time you go see veterans, especially our elder generation, you reflect on everything they have done. It's a chance to thank them for all of the work they have done.

Pittsburgh Steelers Arthur Moats, Stephon Tuitt and Alejandro Villanueva visited with veterans at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System.

"From my perspective, it's something I wanted to do. I am more honored to have served than wanting to be honored."

Linebacker Arthur Moats, whose father Arthur is a former United States Marine, has an incredible appreciation for those who have served, and knows that those men and women are the true heroes in the world.

"This was a great thing to be able to come here and communicate with the veterans and have that one on one time with them and let them know that we genuinely care about them," said Moats. "My father was a Marine, so it holds a spot near and dear to my heart. Any time you are able to come over and uplift them, put a smile on their face and just hang out with them it's a great feeling.

"They say we watch you, we look up to you. They are the real heroes. I told them we appreciate everything you do, the sacrifices you make so we can live in a country where we are safe and don't have to be scared. We have the utmost respect for them." 

The Pittsburgh Steelers honored our nation's military service members during a Week 9 game at Heinz Field against the Oakland Raiders. Presented by ATI.

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