Twelve years ago today at 2:42 am, the Aggie family lost twelve of its members in a tragedy that shocked the nation when Bonfire collapsed. I was 10 years old then and I can still remember hearing about it. At the time, I didn’t know what Bonfire was all about. I didn’t really get the tradition or the deeper meaning behind it.
I always thought that it was our last rally before we go off and play Texas. It was to get us pumped up to play the team we all have blood boiling hatred towards. I grew up to hate the Texas Longhorns. I didn’t want anything to do with them. I can honestly say that this girl and I didn’t like each other in third grade because she liked the Longhorns and I liked the Aggies. That’s how I was raised, to hate tu.
When Bonfire collapsed, I was hurt. The whole Aggie family was hurt. We are already a tight family, but this adversity drew us together tighter than we’ve ever been. It made us remember what makes this school so great. It’s not the hatred toward Texas, it’s the love that we have for each other. “We are the Aggies, the Aggies are we. True to each other as Aggies can be,” has never been truer. The 1947 Corps handbook stated that “bonfire symbolizes two things: a burning desire to beat the hell out of t.u. and the undying flame of love that every loyal Aggie carries in his heart for the school.” Although Bonfire didn’t burn that year in 1999, the fire that burns within all Aggies for the loyalty to the school and each other was rekindled and is burning stronger than ever before.
We will never forget them. It still hurts, but the Aggie family is always looking after each other and supporting one another. Each year we remember November 18, 1999 and the ones we lost. We will remember the 12 as long as the Aggie Spirit is alive, and that, my friends, is forever.
Thanks and Gig ’em.