Darkness fell over the Texas A&M campus Tuesday night as Aggies observed one of their most solemn traditions. The first Silver Taps ceremony for the fall semester, honoring recently deceased Texas A&M University students, was held in front of the Academic Building. The ceremony honored the memories of seven Texas A&M students who have died since late spring, when the last Silver Taps was held.
Among those honored were Barbara Smith Corrales, a doctoral history major from Anderson who died April 17; Courtney Dawn Deeley, a senior poultry science major from Sugar Land who died April 15; Matthew Thomas Frank, a sophomore economics major from Magnolia who died June 8; and Sarah Hassell, a sophomore general studies major from Bedford who died March 29.
Also Amber Rachelle Hensarling, a third-year veterinary medicine (VTMD) student from Wharton who died March 25; Tracy Lynn Sartwell, a senior psychology major from Sugar Land who died June 9; and Candace Janelle Borchers Schulz, a third year-veterinary medical (VTMD) student from Bandera who died May 29.
The first Silver Taps was held more than a century ago in 1898 upon the death of the university’s president, Lawrence Sullivan Ross, and the ceremony has changed little from that time.
On the day of the ceremony, all campus flags are flown at half-staff and a list of the names of those to be remembered is posted at the base of the flagpole in the Academic Plaza. The family of each student to be honored is notified of the ceremony and sent a floral arrangement by university officials.
In honor of these students, the campus will be darkened at 10:20 p.m. In the darkness, students, family and friends will silently gather in the plaza in front of the Academic Building. At 10:30 p.m. an honor guard from the Ross Volunteer Company will march across campus from the Corps of Cadets area to the plaza where its members will present a 21-rifle salute. Buglers from the Aggie Band, unseen in the darkness, will play a special arrangement of "Taps." The tolling of Albritton Tower bells will signal the end of the ceremony.