I've heard/read so many comments: “It's not like they poisoned the Sequoyas!” “There are greater things to worry about.” “I'm sure those over in Afghanistan fighting for our freedom don't give a hoot about those trees.” “It's not like 9-11!” “Shouldn't the Homeland Security be protecting us from terrorists...not herbicides?”
All are valid statements. For most, these trees are an emotional attachment to a thriving time in their lives. Many have made the trip to the campus to ceremoniously roll the trees in toilet paper to celebrate Auburn victories. Many have continued this tradition with their children. Many have probably consumed too much and had the misfortune of using them as a leaning post, pallet or worse...a trash can.
Just to think of the number of students passing by, near or under these massive structures of nature is overwhelming. On their way to higher education. On their way to social engagements. On their way to work. On their way to get some lemonade. :) On their way into town for the week and on their way out of town for the weekend.
There's some of us that spent countless hours beneath those tress on warm spring or cool fall days with our books spread out like a Thanksgiving feast. Many of us located just south of the trees and gazed at their beauty during a game of frizbee or football. Countless used them as shelter from the rain during our commutes to and from class...they have amazing coverage! And a select few of us were asked for our hand in marriage with those 130 year old branches towering above us. ;)
No, the trees down in Auburn, Alabama on the campus of the Loveliest Village on the Plains aren't national monuments. They do happen to be monuments to the current National Champions, though. So, with victory comes great price.
The troops are still overseas, the national debt is still out of control and there are much more important things to take precedence over “some trees that would've died one day anyway”, as one Facebook user so eloquently put it. But their place in so many individual histories has not diminished over time. In fact, this event will most likely resurrect those memories.
For the individual that thought this was a good idea. I feel sorry for you. I, as an Auburn fan, don't expect anyone to adopt my thinking. I chose Auburn long ago as my team, my school and my family. And as everyone can agree, you protect your family with fierceness (some may say...that of a Tiger).
Rivalry is great. It's great for the fans, the players, the schools and the conference. This won't be the first time it's been taken too far. I recall more than one instance of family disputes where individuals are shot, stabbed, robbed or even killed. Rest assured, the Auburn family agrees that those are all greater crimes than the poisoning of trees at a University. Nevertheless, the act itself shouldn't go unpunished. And the punishment won't replace the trees, if they do succumb to the poisonous cocktail they've been fed.
But, in due time, regardless of the outcome, the memories will still remain for those that have had the pleasure of making them. And for those that haven't...a new tradition will emerge, if necessary. It's who we are. It's what we do. War Eagle!