Despite the prevalence of “woke” sports teams adopting pro-Democratic Party taking points at America’s major sports franchises and universities, a school down south made it clear this past weekend that it will never cease to remember what is truly important.
College football fans in Alabama on Saturday honored the 13 American heroes who were killed last month in an attack on U.S. troops amid President Joe Biden’s chaotic exit from Afghanistan. Thirteen seats at Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium were left empty to honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice as our country ended its 20-year war in Afghanistan.
The Tigers defeated the Akron Zips 60-10 Saturday night to kick off their college football season.
The win was a great start for a team that hopes to capture the Southeastern Conference championship in a few months. If Auburn can remain that dominant and defeat in-state rival Alabama, it will have a chance to represent the SEC in the College Football Playoff.
But no matter how the new season shakes out, the Tigers and their fans showed college football, and indeed all of sports, what it looks like to let go of individual pride for a brief moment to simply show some gratitude.
Auburn reserved 13 seats for the 12 Marines, one Navy corpsman and one Army staff sergeant who will not come home this fall to celebrate touchdowns and social gatherings.
Those seats at Jordan-Hare sat empty in remembrance of our best and brightest.
Auburn took the focus off its stellar roster and instead highlighted a sacrifice that goes beyond sports.
— War Blogle (@WarBlogle) September 4, 2021
I’m an Alabama fan but this deserves recognition. Well done Auburn, well done. Honoring our soldiers killed in Afghanistan. We will remember. #honor #heros #gonebutnotforgotten pic.twitter.com/JOKMoC3o0I
— 𝐂𝐢𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐫𝐬🌹 (@LCThelin) September 6, 2021
U.S. forces left Afghanistan last month for the first time in two decades. The military suffered tragic casualties at the airport in Kabul. On Aug. 26, a suicide bomber targeted U.S. troops and Afghan citizens at Hamid Karzai International Airport in the Afghan capital.
The Auburn Tigers on Saturday ensured the U.S. service members who lost their lives were not forgotten.
A university representative told Fox News the show of respect was the least the school could do.
“These men and women sacrificed so much for our country,” Auburn assistant athletic director Dan Heck said Monday on “Fox & Friends.” “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.”
“In that creed it talks about our country and freedom and why that’s important,” Heck added. “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.”
Auburn is seeking to find the families of the troops killed in the Kabul attack so that those whose lives were forever changed last month can receive the flags which used to reserve seats for them at Saturday’s game.
Perhaps once those families are found, those currently experiencing loss can walk away with a greater understanding that they are being prayed for and honored by a grateful fanbase and a thankful nation.
Auburn, during a 50-point win, surrendered the victory over to a more worthy cause than football. The Tigers on Saturday reminded football fans in a polarizing era in sports and culture what true class looks like.