This Saturday night in Jordan-Hare, I was reminded what it meant to be a member of the Auburn Family.
It wasn’t the win, and it wasn’t the feeling of being back in Jordan-Hare surrounded by friends and family; it was a moment that will stand the test of time.
As an in-memoriam image of Rod and Paula Bramblett, two fallen members of this family, was displayed on the jumbotron, the Auburn Family remembered them in silence.
In this moment, I watched as a crowd of men, women, students and children all turned yelling and screaming into pure silence.
As I looked around me, I didn’t see smiles — I saw tears.
They weren’t tears for a loss of a football game, but for the loss of a mother and a father, the loss of colleagues, the loss of friends and the loss of a brother and sister of the Auburn Family.
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And like those around me, I also shed a few tears. Tears for their children, tears for the tragedy that shook a community to its core and tears for a purely beautiful moment on the Plains.
In that silence we mourned, but we also conquered.
We conquered the most incredible adversary any person can go toe to toe with: death.
As over 80,000 people grieved together in a moment where you could have heard a pin drop, we came a step closer to closure and a step closer to a new day for this community.
However, this grieving turned into something different when one fan screamed out two words that, in that moment, were more than just a battle cry.
“War Eagle,” in that moment, meant thank you.
A cheer erupted, and a moment of silence created a moment of noise and celebration.
It was a celebration of moments like “Go Crazy Cadillac!” “There goes Davis!” and “It’s a Miracle in Jordan-Hare!”
A celebration of a lifetime of memories.
A celebration of a man and a woman that sacrificed for us all.
The impacts that Rod and Paula have left in this world — and on this family — will live on forever.
The time and sacrifices that Paula made for Rod to voice the moments that carried us through the battles our Tigers fought will never be forgotten and can never be properly appreciated.
As Rod himself said in the tribute video, Saturday night was for all those Auburn Tigers that couldn’t be there in body but were with us in spirit.
Rod and Paula were there with us as God painted an orange and blue sunset on that September, Saturday night.
A new day is dawning on the plains, but it is a day that comes with grief, sorrow and pain.
But hey, that’s what being an Auburn Tiger is all about.
When the odds are against us, we need one chance, or in this case, one moment to overcome any obstacle that lies in front of us.
Saturday was a step forward in the healing process for us all, but by no means is that journey over.
Our prayers are with Shelby, Joshua and the rest of the Bramblett family as they continue to weather this storm of adversity.
May God bless them and the Auburn Family as this mourning process continues.
Ross Chandler is a junior at Auburn University.
The opinions expressed in columns and letters represent the views and opinions of their individual authors.
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