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The Battalion

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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One step away
June 8, 2024

More than a name: Muster Reflection Display gives some context to the names called

Photo by Allison Bradshaw
Muster Reflections
Students and visitors walk quietly around the Flag Room’s tables, invited to each display by the smiling photographs and personal contributions of other Aggies.
Many are separated by age, but the main difference between the observed and the observers is a death date — each display represents an Aggie who will be honored at the 2015 Muster.
The Muster Reflections Display attaches stories to the names read on the Roll Call for the Absent and gives visitors the chance to see a glimpse of the honored Aggies’ lives, interests and personalities. The display contains tables for around 50 Aggies, each filled with various objects and photographs all chosen to convey a story.
Maria Quiros, Muster committee chair and supply chain management senior, said the ability to tell the stories of the honored Aggies was the original purpose of the reflections display.
“When you walk around you’ll notice there are a lot of personal items,” Quiros said. “Not just photos but things that are kind of telling a story of who this Aggie was. I think that was the original vision and it continues to be the vision now.”
Mark Zanders, reflections display coordinator and electrical engineering senior, said personal items might range from shoes to Texas A&M sabers. He said the display helps students connect with the names read on Roll Call.
“You go to Muster, you hear the names — OK, Class of ’65, Class of ’15 — you hear all these names but you really don’t know the person,” Zanders said. “So the display is a great way for people to get acquainted with and kind of form a relationship even though you’ve never met them.”
Erin Youngblood, reflections display coordinator and Blinn Team sophomore, said families often set up the display themselves or send in photos of what they want the display to look like.
Youngblood said the display moved several times over the last 12 years until it landed in its current location in the MSC Flag Room. Youngblood said the grand piano in the Flag Room adds to the impact of the display — many students have volunteered to play in one-hour shifts.
“Starting second semester we put a note on the piano saying, ‘Do you play piano, are you interested in playing for the reflections display?’” Youngblood said. “And so we had a whole lot of people emailing us and saying they would be more than willing to help out.”
Zanders said the coordinators work to create a display that conveys the message the families want to tell.
“It’s important for Erin and I to take the same kind of care that the families do in organizing the display and making sure we translate that in the actual Flag Room,” Zanders said. “The families have really put out the effort to make sure the display looks really good, we’ve just shown what they’ve done.”
Quiros said the reflections display has grown in recent years and Muster committee is happy with the number of families who have chosen to participate, but this success is not without growing pains. The number of displays have reached maximum occupancy for the Flag Room’s space, and Muster committee has looked into other possible future locations.
“Something that comes up in discussion a lot, the growth that takes place, what will we do as more displays are added,” Quiros said. “There has been a pretty large response this year, and so we’re already kind of feeling it this year in terms of, ‘Wow, we are going to need more room soon.’”
Quiros said no matter the display’s location, it will always contribute to Muster’s tradition.
“At its core, Muster is Aggies gathering and remembering,” Quiros said. “Whether you do that in a ballroom, or you do that in a court- yard, or you do that in your apartment, what matters is that you are gathering and remem- bering and not where you are.”
The Muster Reflections Display will be available for viewing until 1 p.m. Tuesday in the MSC Flag Room. 
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