We recently took a trip to College Station, TX to attend our sweet cousin and dear friends, Katherine & Chris's wedding.
We had some down time the afternoon before the wedding and decided to take the boys to the Bonfire Memorial at Texas A&M.
The Aggie Bonfire was a long standing tradition at Texas A&M University, as part of the college rivalry they had with University of Texas-Austin. Each year, the students a.ka. Aggies built and burned a bonfire on campus to prep and rally for the big game against UT. Known to the Aggie community simply as Bonfire , the annual event symbolized Aggie students ™ burning desire to beat the hell outta u.t. This traditionally occurred around Thanksgiving. I recall when my brother was attending school there, he would not come home during this holiday, for this exact reason.
The first on-campus bonfire was in 1909 and consisted of trash and debris.
The Aggie Bonfire was a celebratory event for students and so much work and dedication went into this event each year. The historyis truly amazing. I encourage you to read up on this.
The Aggie Bonfire burned every year since the initial Bonfire in 1909, with the exception of 1963. That year Bonfire was built but torn down in a tribute to President John F. Kennedy who was assassinated on November 22, 1963. A quote found here , touched my heart Texas A&M Head Yell Leader Mike Marlowe said, It is the most we have and the least we can give.
The second time in A&M's history that Bonfire did not burn was almost exactly 92 years after the first Bonfire due to its collapse on November 18th, 1999 at 2:42 a.m. The collapse killed 12 Aggies and injured 27 others.
At the ring's center is a black-granite marker, 18 inches in diameter, representing the Bonfire stack's Centerpole. Positioned on the exact spot used for Centerpole, the marker is engraved with the date and time of the collapse: 11-18-1999 2:42 a.m.
Five years later, the Bonfire Memorial was dedicated on the exact location of the ™99 Bonfire.
The interior of the Spirit Ring may be accessed through 12 portals, one for each Aggie lost in 1999. The outer, granite, portals stand 16 feet tall; and the interior, bronze, portals 12 feet. Each is on a line extending from the center of the ring to the hometown of the Aggie represented, and the bronze portal is engraved with three memorial elements “ a portrait, his or her signature and a written reflection.
At the Bonfire Memorial every single piece of construction represents a particular aspect of the Aggie Bonfire: tradition, history and spirit. It was a wonderful experience and truly touching to each of us.
If you are ever in the area, I would definitely recommend you stopping by. At the entrance of the memorial, they have brochures, that define each element of the structure and what they represent “ pick one of those up and read through it as you are walking through. It definitely impacts your whole experience and the symbolic nature of the memorial.
Prayers for all the Aggie students, family, friends, faculty & staff and all those that were directly or indirectly touched by this event, as we are approaching the anniversary.