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20th Bonfire Remembrance Nov. 18

Aggies will gather at the Bonfire Memorial at Texas A&M on Nov. 18 for a remembrance ceremony.
By Sam Peshek, Texas A&M University Division of Marketing & Communications November 11, 2019

Bonfire Memorial
The Bonfire Memorial on the campus of Texas A&M University.

Texas A&M Marketing & Communications

Aggies will gather at the Bonfire Memorial on the campus of Texas A&M University on Monday, Nov. 18 at 2:42 a.m. to honor the 20th remembrance.

The ceremony will honor 11 students and one former student who died from injuries sustained when the structure collapsed while nearing the end of construction Nov. 18, 1999. Twenty-seven Aggies were injured in the collapse.

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.”

A reflections display is available in the Memorial Student Center Flag Room today through Nov. 18 for Aggies who wish to remember the lives of those who were lost in the collapse.

“Although 20 years have passed since Bonfire Stack Collapse, students still come together each year to remember the 12 Aggies that were lost,” Bonfire Remembrance Committee Chair Brooke Wilson said. “The Reflections Display in the Flag Room offers a way for the student body to learn about the history of the tradition of Bonfire, the tragedy of Stack Collapse, and the Aggie Spirit that united the community to recover following the event. The display will include historical pictures and artifacts that help explain Aggie Bonfire throughout the years.”

The Bonfire Memorial recently completed a months-long enhancement project, making the grounds more accessible with upgraded walkways.

A virtual tour of the memorial is available online.

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.”

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.

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