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Students gather to remember lives lost in 1999 Aggie bonfire collapse

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Posted at 9:21 AM, Nov 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-18 12:08:55-05

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — A bonfire memorial remembrance ceremony on Thursday honored the 12 lives lost and 27 injured in the Texas A&M bonfire collapse 22 years ago.

In a sea of the dark morning sky, footsteps shuffled as students found their places.

One Aggie looked back at the years he attended the bonfire remembrance ceremonies and how it’s shaped who he is today.

”I knew the war hem and the spirit of Aggieland," said Dylan Sione, bonfire remembrance chair for traditions council. "We are the Aggies, the Aggies are we. But I don’t think I truly understood it until that night that I came out here.”

That experience led him to organize the ceremony this year as Remembrance Chair.

”This past year has been a really special experience for me," Sione said. "It’s really taught me a lot about just how deep of a meaning bonfire remembrance is and how impactful it can be.”

Sione said he hopes to continue sharing the importance for generations to come.

”It’s just very moving you know to have kids sacrifice sleep to come out here to honor people that they probably didn’t know, says a lot about the student body as a whole,” said Jordan Theilen, A&M student class of 2023.

Jordan Theilan knows all too well the sacrifices these Aggies made and is proud to make time to honor their lives.

“Taking a couple hours even if it’s an hour of our time to be out here and to honor those that we lost back in 1999 is hugely important because it put things into perspective of what’s important in life and what’s not,” Theilen said.

This tradition brings Aggies together, uniting them in a moment as they embody the Aggie spirit.

“In a sea of your fellow Aggies and be able to look around and see that it’s not just you it’s hundreds of hundreds of other Aggies that are coming together,” Sione said.

Five years after the collapse the memorial was dedicated to remembering those fallen. The spirit ring surrounds the exact location the collapse took place.