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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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Thousands gather to honor fallen Aggies at hybrid Campus Muster

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Photo by Photo by Abbey Santoro

Friends and family members of Aggies who passed away within the last year gather to light candles after their loved one’s name is called as a way to honor their lives during the Roll Call for the Absent at the Campus Muster Ceremony in Reed Arena on Wednesday, April 21. 

The Campus Muster ceremony was held in Reed Arena for families of honorees and a group of the Class of 1971 on April 21.
Muster is an annual tradition which allows the Aggie Family to come together and honor those who have fallen. The Muster Ceremony serves as a remembrance and a chance for Aggies to answer “Here” for their lost loved ones during the Roll Call for the Absent.
The 2021 Muster ceremony was the second time students were not all able to gather in Reed Arena with the families of the honorees. The in-person ceremony was moved entirely online in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, Aggies gathered for the hybrid ceremony and watched a live stream from Kyle Field.
Muster Committee Chair and health administration graduate student Lauren Kraus opened the ceremony with gratitude for having the honorees’ families present in an unprecedented time.
“I think I can speak for all when I say this year has been a bit challenging and eye-opening and one that we will never forget,” Kraus said. “Though all of the unknowns and uncertainties, Aggie Muster has prevailed. Muster is and always will be resilient.”
As each name was called, a candle was lit on the person’s behalf in both Reed Arena and Kyle Field. This allowed for a special aspect of the ceremony to be viewed in-person in addition to the live-stream that was played for attendees in Kyle Field.
Economics senior and Student Body President Eric Mendoza noted how well the campus has adapted during COVID-19 as well as how A&M traditions have carried on throughout all of the uncertainty.
“We meet in multiple different formats including here in Reed Arena. Most importantly, we meet with an undeniably optimistic outlook for the year ahead,” Mendoza said. “If you need an example, just look at how well our Campus Muster broadened to meet the needs of our campus during this time.”
Nuclear engineering sophomore Zachary Hosler got to attend the ceremony for the first time in-person at Kyle Field due to the virtual delivery of the ceremony last year.
“It felt good seeing everyone who did attend. I know I got there a bit early and I didn’t really look back until the after ceremony and the amount of people I saw there was surprising, it had really filled up the stadium,” Hosler said. “It was good to know that a large number of Aggies went there to Muster to help keep the tradition alive.”
Hosler said he felt it was important to participate in the ceremony as an A&M tradition and to honor Aggies who have passed.
“Muster is the biggest A&M tradition and knowing that I didn’t get to go to Muster last year, it felt important to go,” Hosler said. “It felt good to know that they were remembered and at some point that I will be remembered. Hopefully not for a long while, but at some point my name will be read up there and I will be remembered by future Aggies.”
Marking his 53rd Aggie Muster, Retired Air Force General and Campus Muster speaker T. Michael Moseley shared a story of Lloyd H. “Pete” Hughes, Class of 1943, who was the first Aggie to receive the Medal of Honor. Hughes was a part of Operation Tidal Wave, an air force attack on nine oil refineries in Romania during World War II, and was one of the 310 airmen killed.
“When you decide to actively make the world a better place, understand that with that decision there are inherent challenges to overcome. Perhaps not as severe as Pete Hughes faced but nonetheless there will be challenges, there will be detractors and there will be critics,” Moseley said. “As Aggies this is what your time in Aggieland has prepared you for, to face these challenges. That is what the Aggie experience and living the Core Values means.”
Moseley set forth the challenge for Aggies to make the world a better place and to share the Core Values of Aggieland.
“My charge to you tonight is to take what you have learned in Aggieland and have the courage of your convictions, have the courage to lead, to personify the Aggie values, and to be that person,” Moseley said. “Be that citizen that makes a difference.”
The Class of 1971 was honored as the 50-year reunion class, of which a small group was in attendance.
“Though you aren’t all here with us in person for your 50th year class reunion, I hope that you have been able to relive your college memories and reconnect with old friends from the comfort of your homes,” Kraus said. “I hope that one day you will be back in Aggieland to celebrate your reunion in-person.”
Though the 2021 Aggie Muster Ceremony looked slightly different, Mendoza said the Aggie Family and Aggie Spirit stood true to what it is and how it always will be, all the way from howdy to here and the journey along.
“The spirit today is always how it has been. While this will never stop being remarkable to me, perhaps it shouldn’t be to any of us really, this is all by design,” Mendoza said. “The beauty of Aggie Muster is that it has never been dependent on anything more than the Aggie Family. The Aggie Family is steadfast and as we’ve seen, so is Aggie Muster.”

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