The following is an excerpt from Kevin Van Valkenburg's story on the farewell to Toomer's Oaks:
AUBURN, Ala. -- There was a funeral at the intersection of Magnolia Avenue and College Street this weekend, and thousands of people traveled great distances to be here, determined to say a final goodbye to a pair of old friends. Many took pictures, hoping to freeze the moment in time, while others paused to say a few words before offering a final gesture of love.
Few tears, however, were shed, despite the finality of the day, and the undercurrent of sadness touched all who attended. Everywhere you looked, people were hugging and smiling, soaking up the sunshine on an afternoon when the sky was immaculately blue. Yes, technically, this was a living wake for the 130-year-old oak trees that have marked the entrance to Auburn University since its inception, but, primarily, it was meant to be a celebration.
The rolling of Toomer's Corner, and the majestic trees that have stood here for generations like twin sentinels, has always been an act of joy, not sorrow. To say goodbye without one last act of revelry would have felt like a betrayal. And so thousands stood -- shoulder to shoulder, at times -- and blanketed the trees with reams of toilet paper, a sacred tradition for Auburn fans that will be forever changed after 7 a.m. Tuesday, when the dying trees are scheduled to be cut down and removed. The final rolling was the centerpiece of Auburn's A-Day festivities, which were kicked off by the Tigers' spring football game, watched by a record crowd of 83,401.
To read more of Valkenburg's story, click here.