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Thousands gather for Troy Homecoming

The theme for the 2008 Troy University Homecoming could not have been more appropriate. “Then, Now and Forever.”

The thousands, who lined the Troy downtown square for the Troy University Appreciation Day Parade and packed the quads and later the stadium to celebrate “their” university, were testimony to the proud tradition of Troy University and to the university’s vision of a bright and secure future.

“This is just incredible,” said Shanda Wilkins, a 1995 Troy University graduate, as she looked out at the throngs of university alumni and friends. “When I was here, we would open the dorm windows and listen to the football games because not many people went to the games, except homecoming. Then, we’d get all dressed up in heels, hats and corsages and go to the games. Things were formal back then. Not like they are today. Everything is very informal and everyone has a good time.”

Homecoming 2008 got under way with the annual Appreciation Day Parade at 10 a.m. and Sharon Kirkland and her little daughter, Regina enjoyed to parade together as did thousands of other parents and children.

“We’re here because of the excitement of the parade,” Kirkland said. “I think all children love a parade. This was a great one and a lot of fun.”

Jenniffer Barner, Pike County Chamber of Commerce president, said “as usual” the Troy University Appreciation Day Parade was a great success and the perfect start to Homecoming Day.

“It was a wonderful parade and we had a huge crowd and a very spirited crowd,” she said. “It was a great start to a big day.”

Brundidge City Council member Lawrence Bowden said it was good to see such outstanding participation from the different clubs and organizations and the exuberance of the spectators.

“The excitement was contagious,” Bowden said. “And, the Sound of the South is unbelievable. What a great end to a parade.”

Troy City Council member Jason Reeves said the Homecoming crowd is an indication of the love that the alumni and the community have for Troy University.

“Each Troy University Homecoming is special because so many people put so much work into it,” Reeves said. “But all of the time and effort are worth it because the parade brings so much joy to so many people.”

Much of the parade crowd “adjourned” to the university’s tailgate areas where students, alumni and friends of the university gathered to celebrate Homecoming Day prior to the pre-game show and the game between the Trojans and the Hilltoppers at Movie Gallery Veterans Stadium.

In the tailgate areas, burgers were being flipped on the grills, music was blaring, kids were playing and old friendships were being renewed and new ones made.

“Atmosphere. What great atmosphere,” said Chris Vincent. “I’m not an alumni of Troy University but I’m a fan. The atmosphere here is great and the momentum is growing. Troy University is up there with the other universities and it’s exciting.”

Alumnus Carla English Catrett lauded Troy University as the “greatest university in the country.”

“Many members of my family are Troy University graduates,” Catrett said. “What is so great about Troy University is that here you are not invisible. You are a member of a big family. That’s what Troy University is– a big family.”’

As game time neared, the tailgate areas began to clear and a wave of red made its way through the turnstiles. How fitting for Troy University Homecoming 2008.

“Then,” the Red Wave. “Now,” the Trojans. “Forever,” Troy University.