COLLEGE STATION, TX — It's been 21 years since the Texas A&M Bonfire collapse that took the lives of 12 Aggies and injured 27 others. Wednesday morning, the university held its annual Bonfire memorial to remember the history and traditions of Texas A&M.
At exactly 2:49 a.m., current and former Aggies gathered for a social distant yet somber memorial.
Kate Wynn, the Traditions Council Chair, says she was inspired by her first bonfire remembrance. Now as a grad student she is immersed in the traditions of Texas A&M.
”My first bonfire remembrance was really what solidified like oh this is different than anything I’ve ever experienced before. This is something special that i want to be a part of,” she said.
This year's remembrance was different than past years due to COVID-19. The family members of the fallen were seated in the center of the memorial as students gathered on the outside.
”A lot of figuring out as things changed literally by the hour, what we needed to adapt and whether things... major things about the ceremony needed to be changed or just minor tweaks,” said Wynn.
For many freshmen, it was their first Bonfire memorial and brought them together with their fellow classmates.
”The Bonfire was always... it was always about football, but when it collapsed, it showed the whole spirit. Everyone came together to come and help everyone that, you know, was affected. It really showed that the spirit was more than just about football. Everyone really does care about everyone here. The whole spirit really is a big family,” said freshman Zach Butterfield.
”I’ve always been an Aggie. I mean my family has been, and so it’s really cool to be a part of it now and yeah, like you said, we are all isolated, but to see us still come together, it just shows how strong this Aggie family is,” said sophomore Anissa McCollom.
Students stood in pure silence side-by-side accompanied by the gentle hum of the Amazing Grace.
”The preparation we did that went into this really relied on whether or not people would, you know, respond to that well, and they did and so I’m really proud of that and proud of the work that the Traditions Council has done and proud of the Aggie family for understanding the beauty of this tradition,” said Wynn.
For a history of Bonfire, click here.