You have heard it said that nothing will be the same here at Auburn after these trees come down. Well I say to you there’s more to Auburn than two oak trees, revered and sturdy as they are. These oaks trees are but an outward , invisible symbol of what’s in the Auburn heart.
You’ve also hear it said that today is a day of mourning. But I say to you that this is a day of celebration and remembrance, a time to celebrate all the good times we’ve shared here in the years past. Great victories, even graduations, engagements—the whole of the Auburn experience, and remembrance of the people we have shared those times with.
And now, and perhaps most importantly, you have heard the naysayers, the prophets of doom, gloom, destruction, and despair, as they have written Auburn off, as they have written you off. But I say to them as I say to you—they don’t know Auburn. They don’t know Auburn soul, down deep where we live, where have have our being… orange and blue and fearless and true. And they don’t know the resiliency of Auburn and Auburn people. As William Faulkner said of mankind, I say of Auburn. I decline to accept the end of Auburn. Auburn will not merely endure, Auburn will prevail.
A writer named John Dryden a long time ago said, “I am wounded, but I am still here. Let me lie down by the side of the road and I will rise again and fight you again.” And that’s what Auburn will do. We will rise again. We will fight again. We will win again. And we will prevail again. And time and time and time again, we will gather right here on this hallowed ground at Toomer’s Corner, and celebrate the experiences of our life and the experiences of Auburn. Owning much to the past, our greater debt is ever to the future. The future is ours, ladies and gentlemen. The future is Auburn’s. Let’s go get it. Let’s go take it, let’s prevail and bring it here to Toomer’s Corner.