When tragedy hit Pittsburgh early Saturday morning, the community responded in a big-time way. It really took no time at all for the entire city to rally around each other and show genuine support.
A little more than a 24 hours after 11 people were shot and killed by a gunman inside the Tree of Life Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood — what Mayor Bill Peduto called the “darkest day of Pittsburgh’s history —the Steelers honored the victims and their families prior to Sunday’s game at Heinz Field in Pennsylvania.
“Our hearts are heavy, but we must stand against anti-Semitism and hate crimes of any nature and come together to preserve our values and our community,” Steelers owner Art Rooney said.
The Star of David was inserted in the team’s logo and displayed at the stadium and the organization observed a moment of silence prior to the home game against the Cleveland Browns.
This was not the only observance, either. Far from it. The Vancouver Canucks held a moment of silence prior to Saturday night’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Rogers Arena in Canada.
The Penguins, which also updated their logo, has canceled its annual Halloween-themed night on Tuesday and will hold a collection at the game to benefit the victim’s families at PPG Paints Arena.
“The Pittsburgh Penguins join the greater Pittsburgh community in standing up against this senseless violence and supporting the victims and families of the Tree of Life Synagogue,” Penguins president and CEO David Morehouse said. “Under these circumstances, we determined it was not appropriate to continue with our annual Halloween theme on Tuesday, so those activities have been cancelled. The entire city has a heavy heart.”
The players also gave condolences to the victim’s families, including Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and offensive lineman RJ Prince, Penguins defender Justin Schultz, and former Steelers great Jerome Bettis.
Pittsburgh will not heal completely over the weekend. It will take weeks, months, years, and maybe even forever to recover from such a tragedy. However, it’s amazing to see the city’s biggest sports franchises are there to support everyone during such a difficult time.