Steelers pay tribute on Veterans Day


The Steelers took part in the NFL's Salute to Service, honoring the men and women of the Armed Forces as a part of Veterans Day observance when they hosted the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. 

Veterans from Foreign Wars were honored on the field before the game. Those honored included: Corporal Stephen Vukson who served in the U.S. Army's 83rd Chemical Mortar Battalion during World War II; Carpenters Mate Second Class Gene Rockacy who served in the Pacific Theatre of World War II; Corporal Andy Andrews who served in the U.S. Army's 7th Division during the Korean War; Private First Class Weldon "Donnie" Luck, who served in the U.S. Army's173rd Airborne Brigade during the Vietnam War; Sergeant First Class Bill Forristall who served with the U.S. Army in the 10th Special Forces Group during Desert Storm; Staff Sergeant Brian P. Dillon who served with the U.S. Marine Corps during the Iraq War; and Corporal Brandon Rumbaugh, who served with the U.S. Marines during the War in Afghanistan.

"There is no greater sacrifice than putting your life on the line for your country," said Steelers President Art Rooney II. "The men and women of our military that do that have my highest respect and regard. I know the entire organization feels the same way."

Other highlights of the Salute to Service included Veterans from the USS Requin, the submarine on display outside of the Carnegie Science Center, leading the Terrible Towel Twirl before kickoff.

As a part of a season-long program the Steelers honored ATI Hometown Hero, World War II Veteran and Purple Heart Recipient, Private First Class Dick McGowan.

A joint services swearing-in ceremony of new recruits took place at halftime, led by Lt. General William "Gus" Pagonis (Ret.), and included 10 recruits from the Marines, Army, Navy and Air Force. After they took their oath Pittsburgh singer Sputzy performed "America the Beautiful," and the Air Force Heritage of America Band performed.

The Marine Corps League Three Rivers Leatherneck Detachment 310 served as the Color Guard and active duty Army Sergeant Corrin Campbell sang the National Anthem. 

Steelers players say thank you on Veterans Day and share their respect and admiration for the men and women who have served:

Coach Mike Tomlin: "The personal sacrifice they make for a greater cause is amazing. For people to lay their lives on the line to protect the lives and dreams of others I think is an unselfish act and a building block of what our country is built on."

William Gay: "There are a lot of people that won't do what they do. They aren't just protecting their own family; they are protecting the entire United States. I really respect their bravery and courage."

Troy Polamalu: "They voluntarily sacrifice their lives to benefit and protect the ideals of our country and our freedom. You can't even put into words how much I appreciate them."

Brett Keisel: "Coming from a military background, with my family on both sides in the military, from a very young age we were taught about the sacrifice military men and women make. They are putting their lives at risk. It's always been important in our family and something I am teaching my kids today. When you see someone in uniform or someone who served you make sure you show them and tell them how much you appreciate them. That's why we enjoy all of the things we do, because of their sacrifice."

Ben Roethlisberger: "That is real life. Because of their service we get to play this game and live in the country that is the greatest country in the world. They sacrifice so much for us to live."

Steelers' Players Tweet Veterans Day messages:

Cam Heyward (@CamHeyward)Let's honor those that serve our great country now and then. Thank you for all you do. Happy Veterans Day!! #**neverunnoticed**

Troy Polamalu (@tpolamalu)Thank you to our veterans for their service, sacrifice and patriotism. #**VeteransDay**

Matt Spaeth (@MattSpaeth89)Thank you to all the current and former members of our military! Don't take your freedom for granted.

Jonathan Dwyer (@JDwyer27)Thank you to all the veterans who fought for our freedom to be able to live our life's the way we do today

Brian Arnfelt (@BrianArnfelt)Extremely thankful to all those who have served our country as well as those who continue to do so. Happy Veterans Day! #**Freedom**

Kashif Moore (@KashifMoore)Salute to all my family and friends in the military thank you for all you do!

Terence Garvin (@T_Garvin28)#Veterans day. Thank u for the work. Support our troops my uncles and some cousins have been everywhere fighting for our country I'm thankful.

Marcus Gilbert (@MarcusGilbert88)For all of those who served and continue to serve, thank you for your hard work, dedication and service! Truly thankful! #**VeteransDay**

Bruce Gradkowski (@bgradkowski5)Happy Veterans Day!! To all the true Heroes out there that sacrificed their lives for our country!! #**ThankYou**

Antonio Brown (@AntonioBrown84)Happy Veterans Day 2 all of those who have served this country n all of those who still r serving! We truly appreciate u all!

Sean Spence (@3Spence1)Happy Veterans Day!

Steelers tackle Kelvin Beachum, linebacker Chris Carter and center Fernando Velasco visited the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System's Heinz campus, playing bingo and signing autographs for the veterans that are served there.

 "We just play a little game called football," said Velasco. "They go out there and put their lives on the line all of the time. They are the real heroes in my eyes. It's nothing about football. It's about what they do on daily basis."

The Pro Football Hall of Fame presented the 13th Annual Salute to Veterans. Former Steelers guard Craig Wolfley was the guest speaker, talking about the military, his admiration for them and the pride he has in his son Captain Kyle Jacob Wolfley, a member of the United States Army 82nd Airborne. Wolfley got a huge surprise at the event, when his son paid him a surprise visit.

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