It is with a very heavy heart that I write this note today.
As we all know, the Auburn family suffered a tragedy this past weekend, and our student body lost two of our beloved classmates.
During the few past days, we have all witnessed the Auburn family respond in an incredible way to these events. We have seen outrage as a result of a senseless tragedy, despair over the loss of great potential and unity as we comfort suffering friends and family members.
There are two things that weigh heavily on my mind in regards to our response. Firstly, I know that in order to properly commemorate and celebrate the lives of our classmates, we must fully unite as the Auburn community. We do not only mourn the loss of two football players, or two student-athletes, but of two members of our family and two of our friends. This situation forces us to transcend any barriers, jointly remembering Edward Christian, Ladarious Phillips, the lives they led and the legacy they leave behind.
It is my hope that as Auburn students we remember not the chase of the killer, but remember the men who were killed. With Facebook, Twitter and televised breaking news footage, it is too easy to be entertained by the pursuit of justice and forget why justice is needed. Three of our family members were hatefully shot, taking two of them away from us. I ask that we respect the victims, the families, those who were involved, and our university by focusing on who is lost and the hearts that are broken instead of a manhunt.
In closing, I pray for the unity of the Auburn family; for a sense of understanding after this horrible event, if one can be attained; for comfort for all of us who mourn; strength for all of us who struggle; and for the courage to learn and grow from this awful tragedy. We reach out to comfort the families and friends of all the men who were taken from us before their time. An Irish proverb says, “The tree remains, but not the hand that planted it.” With these words in mind, let us not forget the memory of these men, but honor their lives with a dedicated focus to the continuance of their legacy and to nurture the seeds they have planted here on The Plains.
God Bless and War Eagle,