The Steelers will host and celebrate members of all branches of the United States Armed Forces for Thursday’s game against the Tennessee Titans, with on- and off-field recognition throughout the evening, as a part of its “Salute to Service” game.
The Steelers are encouraging fans to arrive early. Kickoff is set for 8:25 p.m. and all gates will open at 6:30 p.m. Parking lots will open at 3:30 p.m.
Included as part of the evening, Heinz Field and the Steelers will debut a branded seat dedicated to all Prisoners of War and those Missing In Action with an accompanying plaque.
The ATI Salute to Heroes features a local military hometown hero at each game during the first break of the 3rd quarter. This week, the team will honor Chief Ralph Anderson. Thursday will mark the last day Chief Anderson is in uniform as he retires after a proud 26-year career in the United States Navy Special Warfare division.
The pregame period will include special recognitions of local veterans and active military members from each branch of the military. The Steelers will also be joined by honorary co-captain General Michael Hayden for the coin toss. General Hayden is a Pittsburgh native and former Steelers ball boy who became a four-star General and Director of the CIA and Homeland Security.
The National Anthem will be performed by The United State Herald Trumpets of the Army Band, Pershing’s Own. Founded in 1959, the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets were formed to add splendor to the official military ceremonies. A joint services honor guard representing all branches will join the Herald Trumpets for the playing of the National Anthem.
The Terrible Towel Twirl will be led by three former Steelers who are also Veterans – John Banaszak, Rocky Bleier, and Andy Russell.
There are ways for fans in attendance can get involved as well. The American Red Cross will staff a holiday card signing station for deployed military members, veterans and their families. Fans can visit the display in the Fed Ex Great Hall from when gates open until the end of halftime. 5,000 cards will be on hand for Steelers fans to sign.