Texas A&M Corps Of Cadets Pays Tribute To President George H.W. Bush
On Thursday, Dec. 6, while all eyes were on St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston, Texas for the funeral of George H.W. Bush, 41st President of the United States, a group of Texas A&M University students were quietly getting ready for the day. The day wasn’t any other normal day; this group of students was becoming a part of history.
The Corps of Cadets is the largest and oldest student organization at Texas A&M and one of the largest uniformed bodies of students in the nation. They are arguably the most recognizable group on campus. On Dec. 6, the world saw the Corps greet President Bush and his family, including former President George W. Bush, as the train arrived in College Station and then again as his motorcade turned onto Barbara Bush Drive making its way to the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum.
All 2,200 members of the Corps were present during the processional in College Station. The Ross Volunteers, the official honor guard for the Governor of Texas, stood at attention as the Union Pacific train, dubbed “4141,” pulled onto the Texas A&M campus. President George H.W. Bush and family were greeted by music played by the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band. As his casket was carried off the train, the “Aggie War Hymn” played; it was a personal request from the late president.
Matthew Hill, member of the Ross Volunteers, said of the experience, “It was very fitting of us to be able to stand there and support someone who has done so much for this great school. Honestly, it was a little overwhelming to see an entire town not only stop to pay their respects to one man but also to support his family and all his hard work.”
As the motorcade traveled down George Bush Drive, they were greeted by over 2,000 cadets. Lining both sides of Barbara Bush Drive, the cadets saluted the motorcade as it traveled the length of the drive to the Library.
Chris Hernandez, a senior in the Corps, reflected on the experience. “It was surreal to be able to take part in such a historical moment. I hope it meant as much to the Bush family as it meant to us. To be able to render honors to a President who did so much for our university, our state and our country was an experience I’ll never forget.”
For senior cadet, Yari Arrieta Batista, participating in the event was an honor. “President Bush emphasized the importance of people and the power we have through service. He left a legacy for us to follow. The whole event was an experience of a lifetime.”
While the rest of the world was learning about College Station and Texas A&M University, Corps officials said, the Corps stood proudly and resolutely, welcoming President George H.W. Bush home to Aggieland.