Bo Jackson speaks at Auburn Heisman Statue unveiling and dedication. (photo, oanow)
Saturday was another emotional day for the Auburn family. It's hard to imagine a more exceptional ceremony than the dedication of the statues outside Jordan-Hare Stadium commemorating legendry Auburn Coach John Heisman and the Tigers three Heisman Trophy Winners.
I expected an emotional day at the dedication but nothing could really prepare me for what I experienced. It was truly a special day for the three Auburn greats, their families, and the Auburn Family.
Seeing the statues for the first time was great but what made it extra special was the feeling I got to be a part of a family reunion. And this reunion may be the last time all three of our three greatest gridiron heroes will be together at the same time.
The three men's presence hearken back a flood of memories of great moments in Auburn football history. But this was a day about family, about a love for Auburn, and about a hope for the future of our school.
The three Heisman Winners all sounded one common thread ... family - Auburn Family.
Pat Sullivan started off by saying how much he wished his father and Coach Jordan could have been present. Visibily moved by the occasion, Pat said as a cancer survivor he wouldn't even been present without ...
"My wife, my best friend, my partner, my family taking care of me. To be able to share this with all of you is something that I'll never forget.
A special memory that I have amongst many was all the people going to the Coliseum after the (Heisman) announcement to see it on TV and to share it with my teammates, coaches, and with the Auburn family."
Cam Newton also sounded the family theme ...
"It is always great to be home at Auburn. It seems just like yesterday that I stood inside Jordan-Hare Stadium with each of you celebrating Auburn's first national championship in over 50 years. I never would have imagined that I would have been standing here a year later for another celebration with my family, the Auburn Family."
Cam speaking to a trusted audience read a poem that expressed his appreciation to the Auburn Family for keeping his morale up during some trying days.
Bo Jackson's emotions were overflowing as he choked back tears talking about how he wished two people could share the moment with him. His mother Florence Jackson Bond who passed away in 1992 and his roommate Tommy Agee who's mother just passed away a couple of days before. He said if not for the ceremony, he would have been with his roommate.
He went on to say that his best moment in his four years at Auburn was a family moment. After the Tigers defeated the Tide in his freshman year, Coach Dye had the team come back on the field and thank the Auburn family.
"When we went back out on the field, I looked for my mother. It took me about five or six minutes. When I finally found her, the fans in the stands helped her get down to the field. Hugging my mother after that game and listening to the fans thank her for allowing me to come to Auburn was probably the most memorable moment in my four years at Auburn."
I couldn't help but wipe back tears when Bo almost lost it, but then again, I'm an old sentimentalist. As passionate as we are about football at Auburn, what I came away with from the ceremony was once again ... at Auburn ... its family that really matters.
You have to forgive me if I sound too mushy with this piece but this old guy often gets dewey eyed whenever he shares special moments with the Auburn Family. Auburn people reading this will understand - others never will.