COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS — The Texas A and M Corps of Cadets held their annual March to the Brazos bright and early Saturday morning. The first unit started the march at promptly 7am, but this event was much more than just a Saturday morning workout.
Plenty of excitement and energy went around the Quad, where the Corps of Cadets live, Saturday morning, as the units geared up for their 45th annual 'March to the Brazos', an 18-mile round-trip trek from A&M's campus to the Brazos River.
"We did this when I was a cadet here. To see the tradition lives on, I think is very inspiring for all of us. Especially, when you look at the fact that our Cadets plan and organize all of this," Joe Ramirez, Commandant of A&M's Corp of Cadets said.
Tanner Cedrone, Corp Commander with TAMU's Corps of Cadets, says March to the Brazos started in 1971 and it serves as a symbolic opportunity for cadets to take on their positions for next year, it's also a huge fund-raising opportunity within the Brazos Valley community.
"It has really evolved into this really cool change in command where the seniors will lead everybody down to the Brazos and will bus back and then all the rising senior leadership is going to be the ones that will transport the Corp back here to the Quad today," Cedrone said.
All 2,300 members of the Corps of Cadets along with members of the Office of the Commandant participated in the march Saturday morning. For Senior Tanner Cedrone, the Corps is just one of those things that makes A&M so special.
"Especially for senior military colleges, service academies and senior military college's do have traditions such as this, but it is really cool with the opportunity that is so rooted in history because it was brought back in 1971. So they have been doing this since the early 1900's of being able to take an entire Corps, move them from point A to point B, just for the purpose of having good community and celebrating all that we have accomplished this year," Cedrone said.
"We are the keepers of the spirit and guardians of the tradition and that's what makes A&M so special and what makes the Corps uniquely special, since we are the oldest student organization in the state of Texas," Cedrone, Corp Commander with TAMU's Corps of Cadets said.
Cedrone hopes his fellow cadets take away two notions from Saturday's march, a sense of 'community' and 'accomplishment'.
"Because nobody thought we would be standing here today. Everybody thought we would get shut down in October, but here we are about to do March to the Brazos and about to complete school next week, so very very proud of my cadets for sure," Cedrone said.
Every year, the annual event raises money for local non-profits in our community. This year, the Corps is helping support Scotty's House, the Brazos Valley Food Bank, Twin City Mission and BCS' Habitat for Humanity. As of Saturday afternoon, nearly $21,000 dollars has been raised.
"This process is a process by donations. Each individual outfit here counts as a student organization, and they have the ability to raise money for each of these groups that we are supporting. Thanks to the efforts of those Cadets, we are able to raise a significant amount of money to be able to serve the Brazos Valley community," Cedrone added.
Cedrone says, for many, including past and present students, when they see the members of the corps, they see hope and that's what he wishes for when people see them march Saturday.
"We are the heart of this campus... when everyone sees a cadet walking around in that khaki uniform or when they see us blocking traffic on Harvey Mitchell, I hope they get that shared sense 'we are returning to normal' and 'things are getting back to what they once were'," Cedrone said.
Commandant Joe Ramirez agrees with his senior cadet.
"I agree with Tanner. Last year we weren't able to do this, we had to a ceremonial one because of COVID-19... This is an iconic tradition for the Corps of Cadets at Texas A and M University and the fact they are able to do this, this year, means a lot to all of us," Commandant Ramirez said. "It does give everyone a sense of 'well... maybe things are starting to get back to normal again'," Ramirez added.
If you would like to learn more about the organizations benefiting from this school year's March to the Brazos, or want to donate, visit tx.ag/CorpsMTTBDonate .