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Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Bonfire, We Shall Never Forget

Today marks the 5th anniversary of the Bonfire collapse at Texas A&M University. I was a graduating senior that fall semester. It doesn't seem like 5 years, but then again it seems like ages ago. We have graduated, gotten graduate degrees, married, and some of us have even had kids. Our lifes have changed so much in those 5 short years, but it still seems like yesterday. The University will dedicate the Bonfire Memorial tomorrow to commemorate the event.

My roommate at the time and I were awaken that morning with a call from his father informing us of the collapse. All day the news helicopters circled the campus trying to get the best shot. Signs reminding us to call home were posted on campus. As all know, 12 of our best and brightest students were lost forever in the tragedy. These students were valvictorians, Eagle Scouts, extraordinary men and women. They were doing something they loved, something for an institution they loved.

It was the hardest day in most of our young lifes. No one knew what to do. We just seemed to hold on to each other and keep going. It was the most incredible time in my life. As the afternoon went on, spontaneous prayer groups met. It is quite a site to see a prayer gathering at a secular unviersity where you can't see the ground for all the people kneeling in prayer. The the memorial service after the program was over I will never forget as we all spontaneously put our arms around each other and sang Amazing Grace. Truely amazing the way the campus came together in our worst moment.

The football game with our rivals, the University of Texas followed the day after Thanksgiving. We build Bonfire to demostrate our burning desire to beat the hell out of t.u. (as we call UT). I don't think anyone knew how to act. But again, we all just hung onto to each other and kept going, yelling our lungs out as A&M upset the Longhorns. I remember telling my mother before the game that I didn't think I could do it, but I did, we all did.

Bonfire, if it never comes back, in it's last hurrah took from us 12 of the greatest kids you would ever be pleased to know, and also it did what it has always done, united a diverse group of students and former students into one big family. I will never forget those 12, nor will I ever forget that terrible, yet remarkable time in my life. Softly call the Muster, let comrade answer "here"...

Miranda Adams
Christopher Breen
Michael Ebanks,
Jeremy Frampton
Jamie Hand
Christopher Heard
Timothy Kerlee, Jr.
Lucas Kimmel
Bryan McClain
Chad Powell
Jerry Self
Scott West

1 comment:

Bubba's Mom said...

This was the first major tragedy in your young life and you will always remember where you were and what you were doing when it occurred, just as those of us of an older generation remember where we were when JFK was assassinated. As an Aggie parent I have witnessed the Aggie Spirit and it is "A spirit that can ne're be told" - it can only be felt. And Aggies honor tradition above all. These twelve will never be forgotten.