Selected War Eagle Moments
This past July I attended the Auburn Football Fantasy Camp, and
while riding back to the hotel in one of the university vans, I
was telling Jim Lawson a story about my sister, Meredith Sutton
(a 1981 AU grad). She had been to Wimbledon in England in June of
this year and she passed a gentleman wearing an Auburn shirt and
she cried out, "War Eagle." The man turned around and
yelled, "War Eagle" in reply and then gave my sister a
high-five. After telling Jim this story, he immediately turned to
me with his eyes wide open and said, "That was me. I was the
one who gave your sister a high-five." I then called my sister
on my cell and asked her if she remembered the Auburn man at Wimbleton
and she said "yes." I then told her "Well, I'm sitting
right next to him." To make a long story short, my sister,
who lives in Florida, is coming to the Auburn-Florida game and we
all plan to get together (Jim, my sister, and I) to tailgate.
It's great that we have something like this to unify everyone who is associated with Auburn. It is truly unique.
My favorite "Auburn Moment" actually happened when I
was a student studying abroad with the School of Architecture. At
the time, the program was 3 months long, and we traveled all over
Western and Eastern Europe studying art and architecture. While
in Venice, Italy I got up early one morning and threw on my Auburn
t-shirt and went to an Internet cafe to check my e-mail. I entered
the Internet cafe, which was flooded with mostly Italians, and sat
by the front window. While intently surfing the computer, I heard
the cry...."War Eagle!!!" I immediately looked up and
saw two older alumni peering their head into the Internet cafe smiling.
I responded with a 'War Eagle' and got up from my computer and went
over and introduced myself to them. The couple, probably in their
late 60's, was from Virginia and traveling Europe with some friends
from back home. Apparently, my orange Auburn shirt caught the eye
of the husband as they were passing by the Internet cafe window.
We stood there and chatted about traveling and the Auburn family
all over the world. Unfortunately, I cannot remember the couple's
name. To this day I still get chills when I think about the unique
Auburn family and how you can be thousands of miles away in another
country and hear those sweet and soothing words...."War Eagle!!!"
In June of 2005 I was on the 1st level of the Eiffel Tower waiting
for my husband (another Auburn Alum) and my daughters to come down
from the upper levels. I was with my in-laws, who are from Spain
and don't speak English. I was wearing an Auburn cap. A man walked
up and said "War Eagle!" We proceeded with a 10-minute
conversation of the great football season, where are you from, and
what a small world! After he left, my in-laws were wondering if
I knew the man and I explained that no, I didn't know him, but those
words "War Eagle" create a bond
be it 10 minutes
or a lifetime... for all Auburn fans!
In 1998, my wife (1996 BS in Forestry) and I (1993 BS in Chemical
Engineering) were in Germany to visit her parents. We took a trip
to Munich where Oktoberfest was going on. Now Oktoberfest is like
a giant state fair on steroids. There must have been 250,000 people
on the site. My wife was wearing a hat with a big AU on it, and
someone in the crowd shouted "War Eagle". We never saw
who it was, but we sent them a loud "War Eagle" back.
I am a '65 graduate and my wife is a '66. My brother, daughter
and son-in-law are all Auburn folks. We call ourselves an Auburn
family. This of course extends to the world Auburn family. My moment
was on a trip to Peru to visit family living and working there.
My wife, Fran and I decided to go off on our own to visit the town
of Cusco in the high Andes mountains, above 11,000 feet in elevation,
and the discovered Inca lost city of Machu Picchu, also in the high
Andes. Keep in mind that we are above ten thousand feet, in the
high Andes Mountains of a very remote area of the country of Peru,
visiting remains of the lost Incan empire. At that elevation it
was cool and damp, and I had on a light tan-colored windbreaker
with a "kind of large" AU. As my wife and I were walking
through the gateway to the lost city of Machu Picchu, a group was
walking out and to my surprise a gentleman in the group called out
a loud "War Eagle"! Of course that made the climb and
tour of the lost city that much more enjoyable to know that we could
be in that remote of an area of the world and find the brotherhood
of Auburn there.
I met my husband when we were both undergrads at Auburn and the
fall after we started dating we took a semester off and went to
Nepal. We were hiking towards the Tengboche monastery in a remote
region of the Himalayans, after an hour plane ride in what my husband
calls a "crop-duster" that you might see flying over the
Plains. After a long hike straight up the mountains, we stopped
at a small guesthouse to stay the night. We had no electricity,
no running water, a wooden bed, and a menu consisting mainly of
rice and "greens". The weather was cold and while sitting
in the common area by the fire before starting the next day's hike,
I was wearing my orange and blue Auburn fleece and heard those two
words: "War Eagle." I realized the woman across the fire
had noticed the AU logo on my fleece. Being the only other English
speaking person there, we started talking, and it turned out she
was from Alabama and was an Auburn fan. So here we sat, literally
on the other side of the world, a 2-day plane ride from Birmingham,
AL, followed by another nerve-wrecking flight in a tiny plane plus
a day's hike straight up the side of a mountain, talking about the
Auburn football season we were missing on our trip. Since they haven't
heard about Auburn or football in Kathmandu, we had to ask if she
knew how Auburn was doing that season.
I was a patient at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville on July
14, 2005 suffering from congestive heart failure and had a pacemaker/defibrillator
that had gone off 6 times in one day, delivering knockout shocks
and burning down to my toes. After being stabilized, I was placed
in a regular room for observation. I had already been undergoing
pre-transplant evaluation for a possible heart transplant and had
only two days before been officially placed on the transplant list.
I became aware that three of my nurses had received their training
and degrees from Auburn and we had exchanged "war eagle"
several times during this and prior hospitalizations. On this particular
date while eating lunch, a transplant surgeon came into my room
and told me to stop eating, that he thought he had me a heart and
that it looked good, but it would be about 30 minutes before he
would know for sure. Shortly, thereafter these three Auburn-trained
nurses came into my room and notified me that it was a go and then
began to sing the Auburn fight song, " War Eagle fly down the
field, always to conquer, never to yield. War Eagle fearless and
true, fight on you orange and blue . . . " It was a truly inspiring
moment for me, and one that I will never forget. It led me into
a successful heart transplant surgery, recovery, and rehabilitation
that has been nothing less than phenomenal
After graduating (EE'95), I took a job where I did a lot of traveling
for a telecommunications vendor. I went around the United States
and was in a different airport every week. The first time I went
to the Northwest, I flew into Washington. I worked on a site there
and went on to Seattle. While in Seattle, I was driving along a
main road and noticed a car that seemed to be trying to flag me
down. I was not sure but they were pointing to my car and yelling.
I was in a rental so I assumed that it was a flat or I was breaking
some law or I did not know what. A little apprehensive, I rolled
down my windows as they pulled up next to me. Then I understood
what they were yelling - "War Eagle!!" My orange AU baseball
cap in the back window was a magnet to them across 3 lanes of traffic.
Auburn was their adopted school since their local college did not
have a football team and the state teams were not very good. We
pulled over and I told them I was a graduate. We talked about "Nix
to Sanders", "Bo over the top", and my experiences
while a student. They said that they knew AU was a special place
when they watched the Iron Bowl and saw the pre-game atmosphere
in our stadium and in Auburn, Alabama. That was a truly unique experience.
Our "family" is so special that it shows in everything
we do and I imagine others are drawn to our Tigers not necessarily
for football greatness as much as "the Auburn experience"....
At a train station in Verona, Italy, we sat near a group of young
people, all looking very European and speaking fluent Italian. One
of the young men kept glancing at my son and gesturing to his friends.
As we stood to board our train the young man called out to us "War
Eagle!" We replied "War Eagle!" and smiled and waved.
He laughed and explained, "I'm an Auburn graduate. I was telling
my friends about our custom of calling out War Eagle to one another
and that if I said that to you, you would certainly say it back.
I've tried to explain what it's like in Auburn...but, I think I
will have to take them there. It's just something you can't understand
unless you experience it." We agree.
So I'm running in the Scarecrow Scamper 5K in St. Charles, IL over
the weekend - I graduated in 1992 and have not kept up the physique
I had in college - and I'm getting close to the end, about to make
my last big push to the finish line. I come lumbering down the hill
and make the final turn into Pottawatomie Park right on the Fox
River. I have less than 200 yards to go, and I start to feel my
legs getting really heavy. Just then I see a lady walking her dog
toward me and talking to someone on her cell phone. As I get closer,
I also notice she's wearing an Auburn Football T-shirt. Right as
I pass her I shout a big "WAR EAGLE!" not knowing whether
she could hear me over her phone conversation. I'm about 20 yards
past when I hear her response: "WAR EAGLE!! WAR EAGLE!!"
- I had no problems motoring to the finish line after that.
My War Eagle Moment happened last summer (2004) while I was walking
around in "Old" San Juan, Puerto Rico. I happened to be
wearing my Auburn Hat and Auburn Basketball T-Shirt and someone
across the street from the shop I just walked out of yelled "Weagle,
Weagle, War Damn Eagle!" Of course I said War Eagle back to
him. It's kinda like saying hello in a different language when you're
an Auburn fan!
The "best" War Eagle moment I've had so far was at Hartsfield
while my family was standing in the 3 hour long security line. I
was wearing an Auburn hat and all of a sudden somebody yelled out
"War Eagle" in my direction and then my family and a few
other people scattered throughout the line yelled "WAR EAGLE!!"
back. We then proceeded to try and "get to know each other"
while going through the security line, which was somewhat humorous
because for a few minutes we would be next to each other, and then
when we got to the end of the rows, they would separate and we would
be 2 rows apart and still attempt to carry on conversation...if
we stopped talking while separated though we would pick up where
we left off when the rows met again.
While I was at Auburn as a student I was very involved with the
Auburn Wesley Foundation (a Methodist Campus Ministry). As a senior
with the Wesley Foundation, I went on a mission trip to Tanzania,
Africa to build houses with Habitat for Humanity. Since our entire
team was Auburn students we wore t-shirts, brought hats, and other
apparel so people would know where we were from. One afternoon we
went for ice cream and saw a local with an orange Auburn t-shirt
on! We immediately yelled, "War Eagle!" and he gave us
a really funny look. We befriended him and told him what his t-shirt
meant to us - he didn't know where it came from and he had never
heard of Auburn. We made a new friend and as he left he yelled back
to us "War Eagle!" Even people in Tanzania, Africa know
who Auburn is!
I grew up in a mixed family...Auburn fans, Alabama fans, and even
some Tennessee fans. It took me a while to figure out which team
was my team, but once I did, it was as if I'd been an Auburn Tiger
my whole life. My grandmother is for Auburn, my mother is for Auburn,
and so I was proud to say I was for Auburn too. My grandfather,
however, grew up as an Alabama fan. He always cheered in the opposite
colors (and on the opposite side of the room during the Iron Bowl!)
No matter how many "War Eagle!"'s we yelled, he never
failed to quickly respond with a loud "Roll Tide!" This
past Father's Day, I called him to wish him well and see how he
was doing. When we were saying our goodbyes, he said to me, "War
Eagle, I'm proud of you." Those two words had never come out
of his mouth in all of his years, and probably never will again,
but to hear him say that to me meant more than almost anything he
could have said. That's my War Eagle Moment.
This past summer I visited Colorado Springs, Colorado to do an
internship. Being the only one from Auburn, and Alabama at that,
I didn't really meet anyone from home the whole week. Part of the
internship program was to hike/climb Pike's Peak, a 14,000-foot
mountain. On the next to last day, when we climbed the mountain
and finally reached the top, we visited the souvenir shop/restaurant,
and I just happened to run into a father and his two sons. They
were just like most people who were visiting the site except all
three had Auburn shirts on and so did I. With the classic "War
Eagle" as our greeting to one another, we began talking about
last year's undefeated season and other things. Who would have ever
thought that you could be right at home even a when you are 1,500
miles from what you truly call home? WAR EAGLE!
My family and I, three generations of Auburn grads, were riding
horses through the very remote rainforests in Costa Rica. We hadn't
seen any other Americans for almost a week and a half, and we pass
a guy wearing an Auburn hat. I do a double take---I mean what are
the odds, the one American we see is wearing an AU hat. WOW. I holler
"War Eagle buddy" and he hollers it back to me. How refreshing
to both of us.
I was sitting at a stoplight, dancing to the car radio when I heard
the policeman behind me chirp his siren. I looked in my rearview
mirror and wondered what I had done wrong. He was smiling and then
he said "War Eagle" on his walkie-talkie. (I have an Auburn
sticker on the back of my car.) I rolled the window down and yelled
it back. It made my day!!
Last summer I was getting off a flight in Tokyo, Japan before boarding
my connection to Guam to commence my Naval Orders underway. While
walking through the terminal, I was of course lost and confused
about which direction I needed to go, so I approached a flight counter.
I was attempting to speak with one of the attendants, but she was
unable to understand my "fast, southern" English. So,
the lady asked for her supervisor to help me. Not realizing I was
wearing an Auburn hat, I received a friendly "WAR EAGLE"
from the approaching supervisor as she pointed to my cap. Needless
to say, it was motivating and I got my help. "WAR EAGLE WORLD
I walked directly into a fellow Auburn student on 5th Avenue in
New York City across from St. Patrick's Cathedral. We're both accounting
majors, however, he was interviewing with Ernst and Young and I
was just on vacation. He got the job and I'm planning my next vacation.
My wife and I (both Auburn grads) were in Maui for our honeymoon.
We were hiking to a waterfall and were in the middle of a bamboo
forest, miles away from civilization. We were discussing how we
felt like we were in the middle of nowhere and how we hadn't seen
another human in probably 3 hours. About that time, we saw a pair
of hikers coming toward us through the forest. As they passed, the
man looked at me, saw my Auburn hat, and said, "War Eagle!"
It just goes to show that no matter how far from home you are, no
matter how far out in the wilderness you are, there's always a fellow
Auburner around the corner....
It was the summer before my sophomore year of high school and my
family and I were visiting England and Scotland. We were in London
for the day and walking around. We went to a park where we saw these
people standing on chairs speaking on politics, religion, etc. Come
to find out, you cannot speak out against the Queen (King) if you
are standing on British soil. So, they get around this rule by standing
on a chair or box at least a foot off of the ground. So, I stood
there and kind of listened to this man argue with another man about
something the Queen was doing, and then one of the men arguing looked
at me and looked at my Auburn Football t-shirt, and he stopped completely
mid-argument to say "War Eagle" to me. Of course, I responded
back with a heartfelt "War Eagle." We smiled at each other
and then he proceeded to finish his argument, and I just walked
away laughing. I think I got more "War Eagles" over there
than anyone could imagine. It kept me smiling the entire trip and
also has been one of the memories that has lasted from that trip.
Thanks for letting me share my story and War Eagle!!!
I was running in the 1988 Women's Olympic Trials Marathon in Pittsburgh
and was about ready to drop out because I was still weak from having
been sick prior to the race. At around the 15-mile mark, I heard
a big WAR EAGLE, and I looked up and saw a couple who had obviously
seen my name and hometown in the paper. I wish I could have seen
the smile on my face! There was only time for me to yell WAR EAGLE
back, but I perked up and went on to accomplish my goal of finishing
in the top 50 (31st) and ran my second fastest marathon time. All
because of two words.
A friend of mine and I were taking off a summer quarter from AU
in 1996. We were going to work at Mt Ranier National Park in the
state of Washington. We left several days early in an effort to
travel other parts of the country. We were at a gas station in Missoula,
Montana and I was wearing an Auburn sweatshirt. As I was pumping
the gas into my car, I notice a woman that appeared to be in upper
50's running rapidly toward me. I look over at my friend and he
has a weird look on his face as do I. The lady gets about 4 feet
away from me and reaches out her arms as if she wants a hug. She
continues moving toward me and wraps her arms around me. I am thinking
to myself, should I know this person? After about 2 seconds, she
loudly says " War Eagle, I have been living here now for 20
years and you are the first person I've seen with an Auburn shirt
on." I am a bit astonished by this, and I kindly reply "
War Eagle to you" The smile on the lady's face was priceless
and I enjoy sharing the story whenever possible.
My husband and I (both Auburn graduates) were returning home from
Los Angles from our honeymoon 15 years ago. The Auburn/Georgia game
had been on the night before, and we stayed in the hotel watching
the Tigers win. Bo Jackson was now playing for the LA Raiders, and
we happened to pass the gate at the airport where the Raiders were
flying out for their game that weekend. We saw Bo with his teammates
across the concourse, and lots of people/photographers were trying
to get his attention. My husband and I yelled "Bo, War Eagle."
He looked up, smiled, excused himself from the other players and
came over to talk to us. He asked us if we had seen Auburn play
the night before, saying that UGA/AU matchup is always a great game.
We talked about being there the night he came back to campus after
he had won the Heisman Trophy. We said we had given up on studying
for finals and went to meet him at Sewell Hall. Unfortunately, we
had to get going to catch our plane home. He was great to come and
talk to us, knowing that with the phrase "War Eagle",
he was talking to Auburn family even though we were thousands of
miles from the plains of Auburn. My husband and I were upset when
we got on our plane and realized we didn't get a picture, autograph
or anything, but at the moment, Bo was just part of the Auburn family,
not a celebrity.
My grandsons live in South Carolina. They are Auburn fans !! The 6 year, Alex and I were doing "Knock Knock" jokes by telephone. I said, "Alex, Gammy has to go".
Daddy said, "Alex, why did you say that"?
"Daddy, I've got to make Gammy and Grandmomma both happy".
Yes, I am Gammy, the Auburn fan. His Grandmomma is a Bama fan.-Donna M.
To even get to Everest base camp, there is a ten day 70 mile hike through the very remote portions of Nepal. Not a road for hundreds of miles, barely any electricity, basically a third world existence. I was one day away from base camp, climbing a hill called "Thukla." The local Sherpa people say the hill is so steep and gains so much elevation that it even gives yaks headaches (headaches are common when ascending to much altitude in one day).
As I trudged up the hill with my backpack over my shoulders, the cold wind whipping against my face and laboring for each breath and step, out of no where I hear, "WAR EAGLE!" Of course I was shocked because I had forgotten I was wearing my Auburn hat. It was a very surreal moment. Here I am on the other side of the planet, no phones, electricity, roads, and barely trudging up this laborious hill, and I hear those common words. I look up and there stood Ryan Ross, another former Auburn student.
We exchanged War Eagles and got to talking. Turns out he went to Auburn for two years, but transferred to Colorado. He was part of another IMAX film team that was on the mountain to do research on climber's physiology. The new IMAX is scheduled to be in theaters in 2009. We were even in the same freshman class together.
In a place where you look for inspiration to take even one more step up the mountain, hearing these words certainly inspired me to keep on heading on.
I just thought I would share after seeing the latest TV ads with the man and the airplane. These are wonderful ads and really share the common bond we all as Auburn people have. I hope you find this one as interesting! I have included a picture of me at Everest Camp 1 with my hat on.
Thank you very much for reading and, "WAR EAGLE"
-Patricia Smith Faulkenberry
Class of 1974
Attached is the picture of two proud War Eagles at the restaurant in Entebbe, Uganda on the shore of Lake Victoria.
Stanley J. Koryta Jr,
Class of 1990
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