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James Bush (left) and Achimon singing the Auburn fight song at WTLS

Achimon among first to play AU fight song

By Michael Butler

Louis Achimon was a new college student at Auburn when he was handed a new tune to play, one that would become known as the school's fight song.

The year was 1951. Achimon was a trumpet player.

Achimon recalled how he got involved with the band.

"Somebody said, 'You play an instrument don't you?'
I said, 'Yeah.'
They said, 'Why don't you play in the band?'
I said, 'No, I can't do that.'
They said, 'You get an A if you go to all the classes.'
I said, 'I'll be there.'"

At the onset Achimon's freshman year, preparations were being made for the upcoming football season and the introduction of a new song.

"Our director Dr. David Herbert had some new music for us to try," Achimon said. "It was said, 'What's the name of it?' It really didn't have a name. Someone else said, 'It says War Eagle. So, let's just call it War Eagle.' That fit."

Achimon said that records kept by Auburn University indicate that the song originated later. The website, cites: "Robert Allen and Al Stillman wrote War Eagle in 1954 and 1955. It was introduced at the beginning of the 1955 football season and has served as the official fight song ever since."

"I made an attempt once or twice to contact someone to update them," Achimon said. "The tune came from a Mr. Sewell in Bremen, Ga." There is no record crediting Sewell either.

After the 1951 season, Achimon joined the Army. According to Achimon, the song was popular when he returned to the campus in 1953.

"We could tell from the feel of it that it would be a pretty good song to have," he added. "Primarily we played, "Glory Glory" as the fight song before that."

Achimon was among four Tallassee natives that played in the Auburn University Band during the early 50s. "Billy Mann, Etheridge Harper and Jerome Jackson were there," Achimon said. They're all deceased."

The 1958 alum still wants to set the record straight about the year "War Eagle" was unveiled. "As time goes on and the history begins to be long-term, people wonder how it really started."

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