Remembering The Bonfire Collapse

By: Pachatta Pope
By: Pachatta Pope

Saturday marked the date the bonfire log tower collapsed. Seven ago, 12 Texas A&M students were killed. Twenty-seven other people were injured.

Once a year at the time of the anniversary of the collapse, one former Aggie student visits the Bonfire Memorial.

"I come out here to respect those who lost their lives," said Oliver Sims. Sims was a senior in the Corps of Cadets went the accident happened. He witnessed the tragedy first hand. Sims was working on the bonfire along with fellow Corps members.

Sims said, "It was certainly a scary moment when it collapsed, trying to take accountability for everyone, make sure everyone is OK, and just to locate everybody."

That was the last time the bonfire was constructed on the campus of Texas A&M University. In its place, an eternal remembrance was erected. The Bonfire Memorial stands with 12 arches. Each holds the name and story of a student who perished.

Past, present, and future Aggies go to the Bonfire Memorial to acknowledge their lives, the void left by their losses, and a tradition forever changed as a result. Sims says this time of year he and other Aggies feel the loss of those 12 students who died and the camaraderie of the campus bonfire.

The former Corps member says the memorial is a tribute to their individual spirits, and their contributions to the Aggie spirit. "Even if you didn't know them or you're not familiar with bonfire, you come out here and you can read it and just take a look at it and feel that you kind of knew those Aggies," Sims said.

Each one exemplified a true Aggie. All twelve died doing their part to uphold Aggie tradition.


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