There were two other notes I received from fans that epitomize how deeply woven SEC football is in our very fabric in these parts, and I wanted to share those with you separately.
Both of these involve U.S. military men serving their country.
The first one comes from Daniel, a captain in the U.S. Army. While deployed to Afghanistan during the 2009 season, his wife sent him an Alabama flag, and Daniel and some in his division staged a "raising of the flag" similar to Iwo Jima. The picture still sits on his desk at MacDill Air Force Base. Daniel wrote, "I got a lot of good-natured ribbing about my 2x4 Alabama flag pole, but I can’t tell you how proud it made me, especially since ‘Bama was winning every week! Again, I can’t tell you how much college football, and the Crimson Tide, meant to me during that deployment. So worried that I would miss the season, it turned into a godsend."
The second note I wanted to share with you came from Jonathan in Atmore, Ala. He spent eight years in the Army and was in the Middle East for three of those years. Jonathan wrote: "At one time, I was attached to a national guard unit out of Gainesville, Fla., in Kuwait. This was in 2005 and for the weeks leading up to the Alabama-Florida game, all I heard was how Urban [Meyer] and the Gators were going to kill Bama. Well, that did not happen, and the next day during a formation, I took my state of Alabama flag that I carried with me in every deployment and ran around the formation screaming, 'Roll Tide.' In true Gator fashion, their captain went to my lieutenant colonel and tried to have my [butt] handed to me. The Florida captain huffed, puffed, cried, screamed and demanded that I be disciplined for 'disrespecting his command.' It was at that time that the lieutenant colonel told the captain not to worry that he was going to make sure I knew exactly how much respect was due his command. The captain walked out, and the lieutenant colonel reached inside a drawer and handed me a diploma from Georgia and said, 'Screw the Gators!' That is what I love about SEC football. Even in a war zone, there is still passion!"