WATCH: Steelers’ Alejandro Villanueva on the Meaning of Memorial Day

Alejandro Villanueva
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Pittsburgh Steelers tackle Alejandro Villanueva, who was also an Army Ranger, has narrated a wonderful video essay about the meaning of Memorial Day.

As a soldier himself, the two-time Pro Bowl player is the perfect choice to narrate a video about the history and meaning of Memorial Day.

The holiday is especially meaningful for the NFL player as in the video, he speaks to the loss of his fellow soldier, Jesse Dietrich.

As a member of the famed 10th Mountain Division, Villanueva served for a year in Afghanistan as a rifle platoon leader. He was awarded a Bronze Star Medal with “V” device for rescuing wounded soldiers while under enemy fire.

Villanueva starts his video with a short history of Memorial Day. He tells viewers about the holiday’s genesis in the heart of a Civil War general, and its growth into a prominent national memorial to our dear fallen soldiers.

But soon enough, Villanueva eloquently tells viewers about his service with a young Army Specialist named Jesse Wayne Dietrich, who was killed during a Taliban ambush on August 25, 2011. Dietrich was only 20 years old and died, leaving behind a wife and a two-year-old son.

“So, if you do one thing this Memorial Day,” Villanueva says as he closed his narrative.

“Think about those who sacrificed. Think of the 1.1 million and their families. And think about my friend, Jesse, who is buried in the plains of Texas, under an oak tree older than the holiday itself. And think about the grave that’s being decorated today by the son that never got to know his dad.”

The powerful video ends with a caption reading, “In memory of those who served and sacrificed.

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