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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Bonfire Remembrance Ceremony impacts attendees

Bonfire
Photo by Photo by: Kevin Chou
Bonfire

The mood was somber at Wednesday morning’s Bonfire Remembrance ceremony as thousands of students, faculty and community members gathered to pay their respects to the 12 students who died 16 years ago.

 

At 2:42 a.m. — the exact time Bonfire collapsed in 1999 — the Bonfire Remembrance Ceremony began with a “Howdy” between the senior Yell Leaders standing on a raised platform at the Center Pole marker and the assembled crowd. The gathering then sang “The Spirit of Aggieland” before the names of the 12 students who died in the 1999 Aggie Bonfire Collapse were called in the Roll Call for the Absent. After each name, the crowd responded with “Here.”

 

“Amazing Grace” was played on bagpipes to end the ceremony.

 

Luke Misley, agricultural economics freshman, said he had never attended a Bonfire Remembrance Ceremony before Wednesday’s.

 

“It was pretty powerful — more powerful than I would have thought it was [going to be],” Misley said. “It sounds stereotypical, but it was a lot more uniting than I thought it would have been. Like you hear about it, then you actually go … I enjoyed it a lot.”

 

Jessica Canez, biomedical sciences freshman, said she didn’t know what to expect but was empowered by the unity of the Aggie family.

 

“It was touching,” Canez said. “I didn’t expect it to be like that. I don’t know what I expected — I’m a freshman —  it was amazing to see how everyone came together. [Bonfire was] an unfortunate event, but it really unites us as a school [and] as an Aggie family.”

 

Andrew Zumbo, history sophomore and member of the Corps of Cadets, said it shows how seriously the campus takes the life of its students.

 

“It shows me that the Corps here on campus … take the loss of life of their fellow students very seriously, which is a very important thing,” Zumbo said. “Something I value deeply, personally, too because I’m also in the military and respect of the dead is the biggest thing we have.”

 

Jadha Gunawan, industrial engineering sophomore, said though this was his second Bonfire Remembrance Ceremony, it made an even bigger impact than the first.

 

“Its definitely one of my favorite traditions here,” Gunawan said “It’s gotten a lot more powerful the second time.”
Canez said it really puts things in perspective — that no matter what someone has going on personally, the ceremony reminds students of the meaning of the Aggie spirit.
“It kind of puts things in perspective,” Canez said. “It doesn’t matter if you have a test or whatever else is going on, there’s a bigger purpose of why we’re here and why we’re at A&M.”

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