Texas A&M – Bonfire Remembrance 10th Anniversary


Good evening, this was suppose to be a big Thanksgiving
week at Texas A&M, home of the Aggies, and a historic football tradition The Aggies were getting ready for their
annual game against the University of Texas Longhorns and in the Lone Star
state it just doesn’t get any bigger but tonight Texas is in mourning in College Station, a huge pile of logs
set up for the traditional bonfire collapsed. At least eight students are dead. We’re
getting ready for the big annual bonfire at Texas A&M, they build and burn a
mammoth bonfire every year for the game against the University of Texas Tonight, they are still picking an enormous
pile of logs apart in the hope that maybe a student under there is still alive. The president of Texas A&M said today
they will be no bonfire this year, the only other time it has been
cancelled since 1909 was when president Kennedy was murdered. At 2:28 this morning, the bonfire stack fell. It is a ninety year tradition in Texas A&M,
a bonfire preceding the Texas A&M University of Texas football game.
More than seven thousand logs are piled up nearly sixty feet high to make the
bonfire, but this year is the log tower collapsed. The spirit of this school is
absolutely unbelievable. Determination to get on with life, I mean
this is a very special place with a very special heart, this community will recover
very fast, strong. No matter how predictable, we think life is,
none of knows what the next hour might bring. When they went to bed last evening none of us thought that tonight we would be consumed with the grief
that is now confronting all of us. All of us cried as we watched our
loved ones being removed from the stacks of logs. We prayed that all would be alive, but they were not.
We prayed that all of the injuries would be minor but they were not. We prayed that our agony and our
grief would end quickly, but it has not. Last night today, we saw a community working together, we can’t stop this now this is a time to renew our community this is a time to show the world that the spirit that can never be told
is alive and thriving. We can’t focus on the sorrow that
we’re feeling now But we must celebrate the way in which these Aggies have lived.
We will remember them, as long as there is a Texas A&M and the Aggie Spirit is alive.
And that my friends, is forever. We have felt like since early that our role with the University of Texas needs
to be to show our support but do it without intruding because we need to be on the
outside to help you if you need help because when the family has adversity especially a family that’s the strong as
Texas A&M, that adversity brings that circle much
tighter and makes you much stronger. When I think of Aggie Bonfire, I know what makes it so special it’s every single Aggie that stands around it. And there’s a lot of Aggies standing
here tonight. I think the one modification… … the one modification about this yell practice is that the yell practice of hope and a yell practice of strength we have a challenge in each one of our lives to look for hope and strength and to move on and look at our future
after a tough time in a tragic week here at Texas A&M. And we’ll never forget it. That will never be forgotten. This yell practice is not trying to
forget anything, that will always be in our minds as
long as the spirit lasts here at Texas A&M It was just meant to be I think the A&M family needed that win, I think the players were just so committed to it
turning out that way They willed it, that it would
turn out that way, and it was a fitting climax for
a week of real trial for the A&M family. As then student body president, Matt Joseph he said at the ground breaking of this memorial, “We will once again, be able to step into a circle of unity, we will be able to journey down the path in the footsteps of these rememberable students, we will be able to see their faces and witness the signatures that they left on this place We will have opened the doorway for
others to share on our grief but also to attempt to understand
our spirit. We will have etched a place in the landscape of our campus just as they have permanently etched
a place in the landscape of our hearts. Today we remember and celebrate the lives of twelve remarkable
people.

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Comments

  1. We will always remember; we will never forget. Today we recollect the unyielding bond that, even in times of tragedy defines the Aggie Family, and Texas A&M. We remember how we showed the world that 85,000+ can and will always stand for 12. The burning desire to succeed in all aspects of life is still alive today. God Bless and Gig'em!

  2. Words can not capture what Texas A&M means to me, the tragic loss of this day will be forever in the hearts of all Aggies. Many will not understand, but this video gives some small insight of what it means to be an Aggie. God Bless the families of the twelve that fell that night 10 years ago, and God Bless Texas A&M.

  3. I was honored to light a candle and say "Here" for Bryan McClain at the San Antonio Muster. Then this morning I returned to College Station, held another candle, and annouced "Here" for all 12 Aggies. We will NEVER forget.

  4. I was there the night stack fell. I was too tired to continue so I left to go back to sleep. 10 minutes later it collapsed. I was still lying in bed in my overalls when my roomate comes screaming down the halls yelling "Stack fell stack fell, there are poeple dieing." In the years since, the campus really didn't feel the same, Aggs didn't have the same rallying point to remind them of the friendlyness of the campus. That is what I noticed after, not as many students saying Howdy as they did.

  5. I love this video, not just as an Aggie, but as a human being. The Aggie Spirit reached out to me as a high school prospect, and decided to permanently reside in me that moment I first stepped foot on campus. I love being a Fightin' Texas Aggie with all my heart, and those days, 10 years ago, tore my heart into pieces. Perspective….this anniversary reminds my of life's precious priorities. God bless the 12, especially Tim Kerlee.

  6. And Chris Valletta, you are a terrific representative for A&M in all you've done and continue to do. You played your heart out for us on Kyle Field for a number of years including the Bonfire game. I wish you the best.

  7. I remember the phone call I got at work the next morning from my daughter "Mom. I am ok. I wasn't at bonfire." That is how I found out. So, so sad.

  8. I've only been at A&M for a year now, but the Aggie Family already means more to me than almost anything in the world. I've gone to every Silver Taps since becoming a student and (performed in [SC]) Muster as well as the 10th year anniversary Bonfire memorial service. This video still makes me tear-up every time I see it. We will always remember.

  9. I remember, years ago going to the Bonfires and thinking, "what a bunch of idiots, they are going to get people killed someday"!  Ash falling out of the sky.  Unsupervised building of this bonfire by so called engineers.  Aggies heads are so big they cant fit through a door.  The people who were a part of that tradition should go to prison for the kids who were killed there.  

  10. 11/17/2016….I am sorry for the terrible blow to the families of those who died and injured. We all long for a way to "belong" and this tradition was one that clearly brought all sorts of people to the activity and I am sure that each year, at this time, you all mourn for the your missing Aggies and this tradition.

  11. This was depressing. 😯

    I can't believe that it has been 18 years and 5 days since this tragedy. I was only ONE when this happened. My brother wasn't even born yet!

  12. one of the students’ last words were “don’t worry about me, please save my friends!” moves me every time. rest in peace ags

  13. Has anyone taught them how to stack firewood yet. Wen i saw the pics of them stacking trees end to end upright. I was like omg how stupid. How do u stack wood n a heater on the ground or n the back of a truck. That was a no brainer. Let me guess it wasnt any of the schools fault

  14. When you embrace Class Elitism and foster an exaggerated sense of self importance like these privileged collegiates you tempt Karma. Millions in this Nation are under the poverty level and struggle daily. How many more are homeless? How many Vets go without adequate Health Care? Yet fat cat collegates can expend hundreds of thousands of $$$$ on elite, snobbish traditions like this that have NO ultimate value. Karma took a huge bite out of this useless vainglorious ceremony. I am glad it is banned.

  15. I’m a 4th gen Aggie and my dad was part of the Bryan FD Search and Rescue team. His report covering his 50+ hour rescue mission was heartbreaking.

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