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Auburn opens football season with stadium tribute to US service members killed in Afghanistan attack

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Auburn University kicked off their football season Saturday with a special tribute to the U.S. service members killed in last month’s suicide bombing in Afghanistan.

Thirteen reserved seats at the Alabama university’s Jordan-Hare Stadium were adorned with military caps and pictures of the American heroes who lost their lives in the Kabul suicide bombing.

“These men and women sacrificed so much for our country,” Auburn assistant athletic director Dan Heck told “Fox & Friends” Monday. “We thought this is the least that we could do to sacrifice and honor those men and women who did so much for our country.”

The memorial was crafted before a 60-10 win over Akron, as the stadium returned to full-capacity fan attendance.

Heck pointed to the university’s “Auburn Creed” for instilling a sense of patriotism in students and their fan base across the nation.

“In that creed it talks about our country and freedom and why that’s important,” Heck said. “And our students, it’s something they strive for every day.”

“We call it the Auburn family, and the Auburn family really has always come together to support our troops and our military.”

Mike Patterson, an Air Force veteran who runs the university’s Veterans Resource Center, credited Auburn for staying engaged with the veteran community and holding events throughout the year to bring awareness to veterans’ issues including suicide.

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“It’s our honor and we’re blessed to use that platform of college football to be able to spread the message to thank our troops and our men and women in uniform,” Heck added.

The university hopes the Auburn flags used in the memorial can be given to the families of the 13 fallen heroes and are seeking assistance in contacting their loved ones.   

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