Alabama’s Auburn University opened their football season with a touching tribute to the 13 U.S. service members who made the ultimate sacrifice last month in a suicide bombing in Afghanistan during President Biden’s botched withdrawal from the country.
The school reserved a symbolic 13 seats with military caps and photos of the fallen American heroes in the Jordan-Hare Stadium to commemorate their honorable service.
“These men and women sacrificed so much for our country. We thought this is the least that we could do to sacrifice and honor those men and women who did so much for our country,” Auburn assistant athletic director Dan Heck told “Fox and Friends” on Monday.
Heck credits the university’s creed with impressing the importance of patriotism on Auburn students and fans across the country.
(Source: Fox News)
“In that creed, it talks about our country and freedom and why that’s important. And our students, it’s something they strive for every day. We call it the Auburn family, and the Auburn family really has always come together to support our troops and our military,” the assistant athletic director explained.
“It’s our honor and we’re blessed to use that platform of college football to be able to spread the message to thank our troops and our men and women in uniform,” Heck said.
The school posted the memorial to their Instagram account with the caption, “‘I believe in my Country, because it is a land of freedom.’ Today we honor the 13. Because of their sacrifice, it is possible to have days like today.”
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Auburn is looking to contact the families of the fallen service members to give them each a flag that was used in the memorial.
The university has done far more to honor veterans over the years, in part thanks to their Veterans Resource Center.
Air Force Veteran Mike Patterson runs the center and commended Auburn for their work in staying engaged with the veteran community and holding events to bring awareness to issues like suicide, something that is unfortunately prevalent among the veteran population.
Auburn’s football season returned on Saturday and the stadium returned to full capacity as the school saw a 60-10 victory over Akron.
“We have a platform that not a lot of people have…It’s our honor and we’re blessed to use that platform of college football to be able to spread that message, to thank our troops and thank our men and women in uniform,” Heck added.
Many bars and restaurants across the country have paid tribute to the 13 heroes fallen in Afghanistan by lowering their flags to half staff and reserving 13 seats and 13 beers “for the 13 who aren’t coming home.”
Auburn University plans to honor the 20th anniversary of 9/11 this upcoming Saturday.
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