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April 20, 2013

Toomer's oaks experience one final roll

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Watch HD video of the Toomer's Corner celebration above.

AUBURN, Ala. | One last roll.

What has become a tradition after Auburn football victories, the rolling of the Toomer's Corner oak trees has defined the pride of Tiger fans for over a century.

On Saturday, tens of thousands of people gathered near the intersection of Magnolia and College and threw toilet paper into the bare stems for the final time.

"You've also heard it said that today is a day of mourning, but I say to you that this is a day of celebration and remembrance. A time to celebrate all the the good times we've shared here in years past," former athletic director David Housel said.

"Great victories and even graduations. The whole of the Auburn experience and the remembrance of the people we have shared these memories with."

In 2010, when it was confirmed that the oaks had been deliberately poisoned, few felt survival was a long-term option. Auburn University officials announced in February 2013 that the decision to remove the iconic trees from Toomer's Corner was final.

In honor of celebrating the ending of a chapter in Auburn history, the university hosted a "block party" in the center of downtown following the A-Day game.

"These trees may be dead, but the Auburn spirit is alive," athletic director Jay Jacobs said.

Overlooking the crowd, the trees were almost unrecognizable as it looked like snow had piled up over the tops.

Plans were released of what would replace the oaks, but with the hope of keeping the famous corner woven with history, acorns from the original trees are going to be planted. A new era of rolling will be born.

"The future is ours ladies and gentleman. The future is Auburn's. Let's go get it, let's go take it, let's prevail and bring it here to Toomer's Corner," Housel said.

Gus Malzahn was given the loudest cheer at the ceremony after working his first A-Day game as a head coach.

"Now here is the plan in the fall -- to give the Auburn family numerous opportunities to roll the trees."

As the reality sunk in for some of the fans attending the final rolling, tears and hugs were seen amongst the crowd. Younger generations woven with elder generations.

Malzahn has coined "It's a New Day" for the Auburn football program, but chants of the phrase were heard for miles and many said this final roll wouldn't be the last.

"We will rise again. We will fight again. We will win again and we will prevail again," Housel said.

The Toomer's Corner oak trees will be removed on Tuesday, though the toilet paper won't be collected until Sunday night.



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