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

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

The Battalion

Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
A&M System’s Title IX director suspended after supporting Biden's Title IX changes
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • May 23, 2024
Mexico fans react after Mexico F Julián Quiñones 73rd-minute goal during the MexTour match between Mexico and Brazil at Kyle Field on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
‘The stuff of dreams’
Ian Curtis, Sports Reporter • June 11, 2024

As soon as the Mexico-Brazil soccer match at Kyle Field was announced, Jacob Svetz and Caitlin Falke saw an opportunity.  The match was scheduled...

The Fighting Texas Aggie Band performs at halftime during Texas A&Ms football game against ULM at Kyle Field on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023.
Gridiron glory to multi-event marvel
Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • June 7, 2024

Special teams: Special events  “My favorite thing about an event is seeing the people come into the stadium and seeing their excitement...

Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
'I was terrified'
April 25, 2024
Chris Hemsworth as Dementus in Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga.
Review: ‘Furiosa’ is a must-see
Justin ChenJune 4, 2024

My jaw dropped open in 2016. Rarely in life does that happen, but the viewing experience of “Mad Max: Fury Road" was something to behold....

Texas A&M pitcher Chris Cortez (10) reacts during Texas A&M’s game against Oregon at the NCAA Bryan-College Station Super Regional at Olsen Field on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
One step away
June 8, 2024

‘Respect and recognition’

Photo by Photo by Joshua Sozio

Twelve lamp posts in College Station’s Brison Park are accompanied by plaques bearing the names of the Aggies lost in the 1999 Bonfire Collapse.

Just south of Texas A&M’s campus stands a different memorial dedicated to the 12 Aggies killed in the Bonfire collapse of 1999, created by the City of College Station in their honor.
On Nov. 18, 2000, the city officially opened the memorial to the public, calling it the “Twelve Poles of Light.” Located in Brison Park, 12 antique lamp posts stand along a path, each accompanied by a cast aluminum plaque with the name of one of the 12 who lost their lives in the Bonfire tragedy. College Station City Councilman Dennis Maloney, who was an integral part of establishing the memorial, said a few years before Bonfire fell, he was on the College Station Preservation Committee that was responsible for getting street lamps placed in Brison Park. Coincidentally, 12 light posts were constructed in the park, which is located right across the street from the old Duncan Drill Field where Bonfire was previously held.
“It was just strange to me that we had twelve lights there and it was twelve kids, and it was right across the street from where Bonfire had been held for so many decades,” Maloney said. “It just felt so fitting, like all the pieces fit together. It took no persuading at all, everyone wanted to do something. You don’t want to forget those lives.”
Royce Hickman, community liaison for the Bryan-College Station Chamber of Commerce and a member of the committee that planned the opening ceremony of the memorial, said the city knew it had to do something to remember the fallen Aggies and help the community heal in any way it could.
“It’s just important for Aggies to remember them and the general public to get a glimpse into their commitment to an Aggie tradition,” Hickman said. “It was a difficult thing for us to come to grips with, and the memorial was an important step in the healing process. It would have been tragic not to keep the lives and the dreams of those 12 people alive.”
According to Jay Socol, director of public communications for the City of College Station, most visitors to Brison Park don’t go to the park for the memorial, nor do they know it’s there, but once the first plaque is spotted, they can’t avoid seeing them. Socol said the memorial is a way to inform visitors of College Station’s history, while honoring those lost to the Bonfire collapse.
“The memorials from the city are very understated,” Socol said. “But there is a very clear purpose behind them. The memorial is not the main focus of Brison Park by any means, but it is a discreet level of respect and recognition of what happened. I think that’s what makes it even more attractive — the way it is discreetly blended into the beauty of Brison Park.”
Maloney said the College Station Bonfire Memorial in Brison Park will remain standing forever as a way to honor and recognize the 12 fallen Aggies’ undying Aggie Spirit.
“At A&M and in College Station, we are so steeped in tradition and in history that nothing is forgotten,” Maloney said. “The park is there as a reminder to visitors that this is who we are and these were people who were important in our community, just as every student is. This is who we are: College Station, Texas, the home of Texas A&M University. None of us will forget that.”

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Battalion

Your donation will support the student journalists of Texas A&M University - College Station. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Battalion

Comments (0)

All The Battalion Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *