A Proper Tribute to Pittsburgh Steelers Great Aaron Smith

I hate to be that guy who shuttles you to something written on the site that I founded and have edited for the past six years, Behind the Steel Curtain. I try not too often, but in this instance it's well worth it. Every fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers will want to take the 5-10 minutes necessary to read this fantastic tribute to fan and locker room favorite, Aaron Smith, who late last week was placed on Injured Reserve. Though Smith could be back in the black-and-gold in 2012, a more likely outcome is that Steeler Nation has seen the workhorse defensive end play his last down of football. 

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Here's the intro to the fine piece, penned by Mike Silverstein, who just so happens to be the one to have informed Art 'The Chief' Rooney about The Immaculate Reception. (Rooney, in typically gracious fashion, had begun the descent to the Steelers locker room to make sure he was there to congratulate his players and coaches when they walked off the field for a fine season. Not so fast, Mr. Rooney.)

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Better Loved Ye Cannot Be: Aaron Smith and the Pittsburgh Steelers

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It is often played on bagpipes at police and military funerals. It has become a traditional song of parting, a song of farewell.

Mad Jack Churchill, the only known British soldier to have felled an enemy with a longbow in the course of World War II, picked up his bagpipes and played it to keep his men in battle during a raid in the Balkans. Out of ammunition, he played on until knocked unconscious by an enemy grenade. The Germans captured him and took him to a POW camp. He escaped, of course.

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When Bobby Jones visited the town of St Andrews in 1958, it was his first visit in 22 years. The townsfolk loved Bobby like they loved no other, and there was a ceremony where he was made a Freeman of the town, and given the right to chase rabbits on the course, and even the ancient right to dry laundry on the first and 18th holes. He was the first American to be given that honor since Benjamin Franklin, but Bobby was crippled by a terrible disease and had not played golf in years. He got out of his motorized wheelchair, stood, and delivered a thank you that has become legend in the world of golf.

As Bobby got back into his wheelchair and headed down the center aisle to leave, a single tenor began to sing this song. Then, as one, the entire community joined in. The great golf writer, Herbert Warren Wind, was there, and he wrote, "so honestly heartfelt was this reunion for Bobby Jones and the people of St. Andrews (and for everyone) that it was 10 minutes before many who attended were able to speak again with a tranquil voice."


The song is called Bonnie Charlie, and its stanzas tell of the Jacobite rising in England, and a bloody civil war that ended with the Battle of Culloden, that led to the exile of Bonnie Prince Charlie, and the end of the House of Stuart. But the chorus has a universal meaning, and it deals with the pain of parting.


Will ye no come back again?
Will ye no come back again?
Better loved ye cannot be.

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Read Rest of Aaron Smith Tribute on Behind the Steel Curtain

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