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Former Pittsburgh Steeler Rocky Bleier to speak at Carlisle Memorial Day ceremony

The Sentinel - 5/3/2021

May 3—Four-time Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl champion and decorated Vietnam War veteran Rocky Bleier will be the guest speaker at this year's Carlisle Memorial Day ceremony on May 31.

Carlisle Joint Veterans Council president Kirk Wilson said the ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. at the Soldiers Walk at the U.S. Army Heritage & Education Center, at 950 Soldiers Drive, Carlisle. The event was moved away from the Square in Carlisle to meet COVID-19 safety requirements.

"The council would like to thank AHEC officials for opening their arms and welcoming the community to observe Memorial Day there," Wilson said. "Masks will be required and there is plenty of room to practice 6-foot distancing."

Rocky Bleier is one of the most beloved Pittsburgh Steelers icons, having played 12 seasons with the team as a running back best known for his work in tandem with Franco Harris.

Bleier was drafted 417th overall in the 1968 draft and played in only 10 games before being drafted by the U.S. Army to fight in the Vietnam War.

While on patrol, Bleier and his fellow soldiers were ambushed. Bleier got shot in the right leg and his right was hit with shrapnel from a grenade. Doctors did not think he would be able to return to the NFL, he said during an interview Thursday.

However, Bleier worked his way back. He credited the team management and specifically owner Art Rooney for having the patience to retain him while he went through rehabilitation for his injury.

Bleier went on to be part of one of the most dominant teams in the 1970s, winning Super Bowls IX, X, XIII and XIV, before retiring after the 1980 season.

During his career, Bleier rushed for 3,865 yards, had another 1,294 yards receiving and scored 23 touchdowns including the go-ahead score in Super Bowl XIII, according to

Organizers suggest attendees bring chairs or a blanket for seating. In the event of inclement weather, the ceremony will be held at AHEC's pavilion located near the World War II outdoor exhibit near the Army Heritage Trail.

Wilson announced earlier that the parade itself was canceled, though the ceremony will still take place.

Gallery: Rocky Bleier speaks at Chamber annual meeting


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