Thursday afternoon thousands traveled to College Station for the dedication of the Bonfire Memorial. Aggies, young and old are drawn by a common bond to their home university.
The site of the most tragic event in Texas A&M's history now has an enduring place of honor for those who fell victim in one of the school's most beloved traditions, Bonfire.
From the outside looking in, you can't understand it, from the inside looking out, it can't be explained.
"Everybody went to Bonfire, that's just what you did," says Jim Russell, Class of '87.
Belinda Bursey, Class of '03 adds, "The camaraderie was just present before, after and during it was what A&M was all about."
"You can't describe it, I was involved in Bonfire for many years and loved every minute of it," says Delmar House, Class of '56.
Five years to the day after the horrific Bonfire collapse, families of the 12 students who died along with thousands of students and alumni came to commemorate and remember the fallen Aggies.
House adds, "You never dreamed anything like this would happen, it was all and accident. This is a nice way to remember them."
Jim Russell, Class of '87 and one of the architects who designed the memorial, "It was an emotional project for us, we put our hearts into it, we hope it’s a fitting tribute."
The memorial that surrounds the site of the last official Bonfire has moved Aggies young and old.
Josh Dobson, Class of '98 says the memorial has a special meaning to the student body.
Dobson adds, "It just brings back a lot of old memories of the bond we shared, all the Aggies getting together."
The symbolism behind every stone and light has made this day even that more emotional.
"I grew up an Aggie, so I came here the year before the collapse. It was great to see everyone and the tradition," says Doug Schmid, Class of '08.
Though the dedication is a milestone in the healing and grieving process for some, everyone agrees, it's about respect, remembrance and the true Aggie spirit.
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