Wednesday, November 17, 2004


Tomorrow is the 5th anniversary of the collapse of Bonfire '99. I've been able to think of little else today. My many years in Aggieland have allowed me the opportunity to make many memories that I will always have. There are three that stand out much more vividly than the rest.

The most recent was standing in the stands of Kyle Field during Red, White, and Blue Out. After the attack on the World Trade Center a group of A&M students organized an effort to get the crowd at the football game against OSU to wear red, white, and blue. As I stood in the student section I was amazed at the unity of the Aggie family. During a very difficult time for the entire nation we had come together and sent a message to the nation that our thoughts and prayers were with those affected by the attacks.

There have been few times I have ever felt alone on campus. Going to campus the morning after the Bonfire collapse is one of them. My father had called and woken me with the news of the collapse before 6am. My friend Mike Sconzo was an RA in a dorm on campus that year, and had been camping out to pull our tickets for the football game against t.u. (The University of Texas in Austin for those non-Ags out there). We knew he needed to be in his dorm helping residents, so I went to campus to hold our place in line. I parked in the Zachry parking lot, adjacent to where Bonfire had stood just a few hours before, and began my walk across campus to Kyle Field. The only sound I could hear as I neared the deserted engineering section of campus was the thumping of rotor blades as the news helicopters from Houston circled above reporting on the collapse. I have never felt more alone.

The most vivid memory I have of my time in Aggieland is from later that day. After struggling through a day of classes I went to the Bonfire Memorial Service with my friends. At the end of the ceremony, after the benediction and as the distinguished guests on the floor began to leave, none of the students moved towards an exit. We just stood there. Without speaking a word the crowd moved to put their arms around one another, the entire arena held in an embrace. Someone started singing "Amazing Grace", and the everyone joined the chorus. At that moment I knew that no matter how alone I had felt earlier I was part of something larger here.


Blogger Wes Raine said...

I couldn't have said it better. For the past two weeks, I have been working on what I would post on my blog about this sad anniversary and the dedication of the Bonfire Memorial. I only hope to capture my feelings and memories as profoundly as you have captured yours. We will never forget.

6:24 PM  
Blogger Bubba said...

Great post, Tim Smith. Yes, it was a time that cemented in me that this Aggie thing was for real. It was such a terrible time, but yet such a remarkable time. It is really hard to express. Like you said, one felt alone, but yet part of something bigger than themselves. I hate to brag about it, because I don't think the feelings were unique, in so much that they could only have happened at A&M, but yet there was a part of it that made me proud of this group of folks I would forever be associated with as an Aggie.

9:21 PM  

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