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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

Silver Taps: Harrison Miller Fuller

Harrison_A_main1.jpg
Harrison_A_main1.jpg

Harrison Miller Fuller was destined to attend Texas A&M in the same way that Davy Crockett was destined to fight at the Alamo.
He was drawn there by its history, by its beliefs, by its traditions and by the others he knew he would meet — and did meet — while there.
As Harrison completed high school and began seriously searching for a college he came up to his mother, Susan, one night and said, “I’ve found this school online, and it sounds like just the place I would like to be!”
The college was, of course, A&M. And though never having been to Texas, Harrison knew he would love both the college and the locale. As we put together the list of colleges for our
family to visit with Harrison, A&M was on top. We traveled to the campus, and indeed, he loved the place.
He especially loved the Aggie traditions. As we walked the campus he intimately came to know each of these — from the universal Aggie greeting, “Howdy,” to the much respected Aggie Ring he so aspired to earn. And, of course, the stately but heartbreaking Silver Taps ceremony. As our student guide stopped and described to us that solemn tradition, I was laden with emotions for the proud but sorrow-filled parents who one Tuesday evening find themselves listening to those mournful bugle calls. But among my many thoughts was not that we would, in a few short years, be listening with them.
We were fortunate to meet with then university President, Michael Young.
“Harrison, as you walk our campus, stop on any corner and look like you are lost.” Young said. “If, within a few minutes, a student or a teacher has not come up to you and asked if you need help, you come right back here and tell me.”
We found that assurance of universal welcome and friendliness to be, without exception, true.
That same outreach was descriptive of Harrison’s own character. Harrison was smart, outgoing and handsome. He was always a leader in activities, and when he was a team lead, he would, right away, choose for his team the kid who stood back, afraid and fearful that he was about to be left out. When asked, “Why did you pick him?” Harrison would simply say, “Everybody needs a friend.”
The dad of one of Harrison’s friends told me, “I remember when my son had some difficulties. Harrison was the only one who stood up for him.”
Harrison was conservative, but in an articulate — not fanatic — way. His high school social studies teacher, in a tenth grade ‘back to school night,’ told us that in class discussions all the other kids were constantly jumping up and down and shouting out things. Harrison sat quietly much of the time. Though at first worried that Harrison was too quiet, his teacher realized that when Harrison did raise his hand he would stand up and give — perfectly from memory — thoughtful, poignant contributions in the form of quotations.
Once after he rose and made a statement, the teacher asked if the class knew whom Harrison had just quoted. No one did. “Harrison, who was that?”
“Winston Churchill,” he replied. A while later his hand went up again, followed by another perfect and relevant quotation.
“Does anyone in the class know whom Harrison just quoted then?” Silence. “Harrison?”
“That was Ronald Reagan.” And later, after a third rendition by Harrison, some of the students shouted, “That was probably by some politician!”
“Harrison, whom were you quoting there?” the teacher asked. “That,” he calmly stated, “was from the New Testament.”
Of the sources he quoted that day, they were indeed Churchill, Reagan, and the Bible — but the speaker — well, that speaker was true-to-the-core Harrison.
That A&M visit was the first stop on our whirlwind college tour, but at the very end we visited A&M again, and having come full circle, Harrison said, “Mom and Dad, if they accept me, this is where I want to come.”
They did; and he did. He accepted this school in every way, right down to standing for the entire game, all five hours and seven overtimes at the 2018 LSU football game. Susan, his younger sister Madison and I were with him.
Harrison was an old soul; he could have been a student at A&M at any time since its founding. He knew the school’s history, and was as proud of it as any of its 160 years of students could be. As for the music and the TV shows he loved? Why classical music, of course. And TV shows that were mostly in black and white: Roy Rogers, Davy Crockett, Mr. Wizard, Andy Griffith, Leave it to Beaver. Even Gomer Pyle.
Harrison loved to invent. When he was very young, Santa knew him well enough to give him a MIG welding set for Christmas, and he later learned to TIG weld at my company, WET. He and I built a furnace and crucible to melt down aluminum cans into small ingots. We fired tennis balls with vaporized lighter fluid from the very back of our yard out to the street, then finally clear across to the other side of the nearby river. In his bedroom today still sits an original Gilbert Chemistry set, a high power microscope and a tracking telescope.
One day, while I was driving him home, Harrison looked up from his iPhone and said, “Dad, I’ve found a 1948 Willys Jeep on eBay. It’s cheap, can we buy it? It’s like the one Roy Rogers’ sidekick, Pat, drove!”
The bidding was going fast; the Jeep probably didn’t run; and it was 300 miles away. “What will Mom think? Can we fix it up?” We bid. We won. We rebuilt the carburetor, honed the brake cylinders and it was in that 1948 Jeep that his mother taught Harrison how to drive a stick shift.
But our young student has left us. Harrison learned in his engineering classes at A&M that every laboratory has to have its platinum standards against which to measure. So, perhaps God said to Himself one day, “I need a pure, caring person up here as a standard for all young men,” and Harrison — leaving his earthly Alamo — took God’s call.
Mark Fuller is Harrison’s loving father.

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