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

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Photo by File

“Silver Taps” is played on the trumpet in order to commemorate the lives of fallen students

It may seem like a normal Tuesday, but as students walk through Academic Plaza, they notice the flag at half-mast. Cards with a student’s name, class and major lie at the base of the flag and atop the Silver Taps Memorial. Throughout the day, letters are written to the families of the students who have died since the last Silver Taps. The bell tower chimes a familiar song of “Amazing Grace” while lights are dimmed throughout campus, and moonlight sets in over Aggieland. Students gather to stand together in silence.
When the clock strikes 10:30 p.m., all is quiet until the footsteps of the Ross Volunteer Company are heard across the plaza. Students stand at attention as family members of Aggies who died in the last month are led into the plaza. The Ross Volunteers march to the center of the plaza in a slow cadence and fire off three volleys of seven shots to honor the current students who have died.
Buglers play a special rendition of “Taps” called “Silver Taps” from the top of the Academic Building with no sheet music — the song has been passed down over the years and is played from memory. They play once to the north, once to the south and once to the west, but never to the east because the sun will never rise on those Aggies again.
As the family members are led out of the plaza, students make their way home in silence and the lives of the fallen Aggies are remembered.
The first Tuesday of every month is a special time in Aggieland, as Silver Taps is held to honor students who died in the previous month. The tradition began in 1898 to honor Lawrence Sullivan Ross, former governor of Texas and president of Texas A&M.
Before the night of Silver Taps, family members of the deceased are invited to campus for a reception and the ceremony. The Battalion speaks with family and friends to create memorial articles about the students’ lives. To learn more about the Aggies who have passed away, read their stories here and consider attending Silver Taps on Tuesday night to honor their memories.

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