Several events are set for the coming week at Texas A&M to mark the twentieth anniversary of the November 18, 1999 collapseof the Aggie Bonfire, which killed 12 people and injuried 27, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
The Bonfire stack was nearing the end of construction when the massive pile of logs collapsed shortly before 3AM that morning.
It was a tradition at A&M to burn an orange outhouse on top of a massive bonfire before the annual football game between the Aggies and, as they refer to it on the A&M campus, 'Texas University.'
Traditions Council Chair Kristen Sarna said the tragic events strike an emotional chord today.
“Bonfire Remembrance Ceremony is such a powerful display of the Aggie Spirit because despite the fact that many of our current students were not alive when stack collapsed, thousands will gather to remember those lost,” Sarna said. “Even 20 years later, the events of Nov. 18 1999 still impact the student body.”
Texas A&M President Michael K. Young commended the Traditions Council’s efforts in a Nov. 8 message to campus.
“Even 20 years later, the tragedy that unfolded there early November 18, 1999 is hard to comprehend,” Young said. “And yet, this constant reminder of the Aggies we lost also is a reminder of the incredible Aggie spirit. It’s a spirit that lives on through the stories of the 12 that are engraved in stone at the memorial. It lives on in many other forms across the campus, especially through the important efforts of students on the Traditions Council who tell others about the remarkable lives we lost that morning, as well as share details of the memorial itself.”
Even though many A&M students were not yet born when the bonfire collapsed in 1999, students have religiously gathered every November 18 to honor the victims of the collapse.
A&M has not played U.T. since the Aggies left the Big 12 for the SEC, even though there have been efforts made by Aggies in the Legislature to rekindle the rivalry. There has been no on campus bonfire since the 1999 tragedy.
Additional campus recognitions include:
A moment of remembrance during Midnight Yell practice Friday, Nov. 15 at Kyle Field.
An on-field recognition of a few members of the 1999 Aggie football team that credited the “Bonfire 12” for its historic victory over the Texas Longhorns.
Aggie football players will wear a 20-year remembrance helmet sticker Saturday, Nov. 16 during its game against the South Carolina Gamecocks, with a moment of silence preceding the matchup.