Dear Auburn Family,
As you all were, I’m sure, I was furious and angry at the news of the murder of our beloved Toomer’s Corner live oak trees. I wanted vengeance. I wanted redemption. I wanted blood. I found myself hating – HATING – the individual responsible. I could feel my blood pressure rising. Boiling. I didn’t know what else to do, so I prayed.
After praying, for no reason whatsoever, I glanced to my right, and I saw the following words on a magnet I have on the fridge…
The Auburn Creed
I believe that this is a practical world and that I can count only on what I earn. Therefore, I believe in work, hard work.
I believe in education, which gives me the knowledge to work wisely and trains my mind and my hands to work skillfully.
I believe in honesty and truthfulness, without which I cannot win the respect and confidence of my fellow men.
I believe in a sound mind, in a sound body and a spirit that is not afraid, and in clean sports that develop these qualities.
I believe in obedience to law because it protects the rights of all.
I believe in the human touch, which cultivates sympathy with my fellow men and mutual helpfulness and brings happiness for all.
I believe in my Country, because it is a land of freedom and because it is my own home, and that I can best serve that country by “doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with my God.”
And because Auburn men and women believe in these things, I believe in Auburn and love it.
-George Petrie (1945)
After reading what Dr. Petrie penned 66 years ago, I had a sense of peace, and all was well. I remembered who I was and where I came from. I am a Christian. I am a Palys. I am an Auburn man. I am incapable of hatred. To hate would make me no different that the perpetrator of the crime.
Only Auburn men and women understand what those 130 year old trees mean. They are part of history. They are part of our tradition. The Auburn Creed makes no mention of them, yet we’ll miss our beloved Toomer’s live oaks if they don’t survive this malicious and evil attack, but we will carry on. That’s what we do.
For years, we’ve been put down, kicked, made fun of, spat upon, and even hated, all because of the colors we wear during football season. Yet, time after time, we get back up. We dust ourselves off. We don’t let it shake us. We carry on. That’s what we do.
Tomorrow, I assure you, the sun will rise, and, as it always has been and always will be, it will be an ORANGE sun in a BLUE sky. In 130 years, when new trees have grown to size, and we’re all dead and gone, Auburn will still be there. No one in Auburn, Alabama will remember the name of the worthless human who committed such an atrocity, but I can guarantee EVERYONE in Auburn, Alabama will remember nine words: “I believe in Auburn and love it. War Eagle.”
God Bless you all, and War Eagle.
Auburn University Class of 2000