But among the hallmark of Aggie traditions is Bonfire. From humble beginnings this tradition grew. Bonfire was held each year preceding the Texas game and it is said that the Bonfire represents the Aggies’ “burning desire to beat the hell out of t.u.”
Over the years the student led Bonfire grew in both it’s appeal and in size. The Esposa remembers the smell of wood in the quad from all of the CTs who had been up all night working at the cut or on the stack.
Nine years ago this week, Aggies everywhere awoke to the news that the stack had collapsed. Details were slow to be reported. There were students trapped. Then reports of possible deaths. When the counting was done, 27 were injured and 12 young Aggies were lost.
One of the Aggies killed was the son of a old freshman football teammate. I hadn’t seen that guy in 25 years, but recognized him immediately in the picture of his boy shown on the local news.
As a family we headed out after Thanksgiving dinner and attended the candlelight service and midnight yell. Kyle Field, capacity ~77,000, was filled with mourning Aggies bearing lit candles and praying for the lost, the injured, and their families.
But it was at the game where the most extraordinary thing happened. The Texas band took the field. They were carrying maroon A&M flags along side their burnt orange Texas flags. They played a beautiful rendition of Amazing Grace in what was possibly the classiest display of comraderie, sportsmanship and compassion I’ve ever witnessed in the history of this storied and bitterly fought rivalry.
And in an improbable upset, the unranked Aggies beat the #5 Longhorns on that Thanksgiving weekend nine years ago this week. But I have to watch game highlights or read box scores to remember that part of the story. It’s the rest of the weekend that will never be forgotten.
Remembering these fine Ags and answering “here” when the roll is called:
Miranda Denise Adams ‘02
Christopher D. Breen ‘96
Michael Stephen Ebanks ‘03
Jeremy Richard Frampton ‘99
Jamie Lynn Hand ‘03
Christopher Lee Heard ‘03
Timothy Doran Kerlee, Jr ‘03
Lucas John Kimmel ‘03
Bryan A. McClain ‘02
Chad A. Powell ‘03
Jerry Don Self ‘01
Nathan Scott West ‘02