Muster Softly Called at Reed Arena

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Once again, Aggies around the world gathered for a time-honored tradition, remembering those who passed away over the past year.

The Texas A&M family spent time calling the roll call of those lost at Muster events, including the largest at the campus itself.

Reed Arena played host to thousands, including family members and friends who paid tribute to those who died by lighting candles and saying 'here' when a name was read.

The speaker was former Texas A&M president and current Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who told the crown Muster was an unparalleled tradition in the world.

Gates spoke of service, saying his current job has been harder because of his time at A&M, as he now has to send young people from the classroom to the battlefield.

During his speech, he asked for the opportunity to list the names of those lost in the recent conflicts, many who he had handed a diploma to, then had to sign a family condolence letter for years later.

"Of all of our traditions, Muster is greatest," Gates said. "Tears will be shed tonight for men and women, although most of us have never known them personally. But they are Aggies, so we mourn them and we miss them, and we remember them and we celebrate their lives.

"Tonight, we will answer 'here' knowing that when our time to go home comes, someone will say also for us, 'here.' This is the Aggie spirit. This is the Aggie family. Both will endure, so softly call the Muster."

Among those at the event was David Cook, the father of Zac, the Army officer who died in the Black Hawk crash on campus in January.

"I'll be thinking about my son and all the other Aggies that have gone before him," David Cook said. "That's going to be first and foremost in my thoughts. I know he's somewhere up there smiling. I hated to lose him, but I've got a lot of fond memories, great memories of him, and I know he enjoyed life. He squeezed every ounce of life out of the short time that he had."

Also in attendance were the parents of Lindsay Walters, who was killed when she was hit by a truck at the Northgate parking garage in March.

"She touched so many lives in such a short period of time. She was just an awesome, awesome young lady. She was only 5'1.5", but I tell you what, inside, she was bigger than this world," said Charles Walters.

Lindsay's mother, Lisa, added, "She had a smile that was infectious. They said that when she walked into a room, even her professors knew her because she always come in smiling. She lit up a room, and her light will shine tonight."