Students Pay Tribute to Fallen Aggies by Cleaning Bonfire Memorial

By: Alex Lotz Email
By: Alex Lotz Email

TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY- Nearly 200 Texas A&M students picked up their rags and brushes to clean up the Bonfire Memorial this morning. As each student scrubbed, they all had one thing in mind: pay tribute to those lost 14 years ago.

"We've definitely scrubbed a little bit harder," said A&M freshman Morgan Cardenas.

These students are putting everything they have into cleaning the Bonfire Memorial.

"You feel more of a connection with each and every one when you go inside and read their stories and see the quotes of what they've written about themselves and the way people look at them," Cardenas said. "You want to be proud to show that to other people."

Cardenas and her classmate Laura O'Laughlin never made the trip to the bonfire memorial before today, but after scrubbing and waxing the memorial they feel closer to the Aggie family than ever before.

"It's like an extension of ourselves to be welcomed into this family and so we take every one of these individuals here and make them part of us and part of our story," Cardenas said.

The Aggies said it's a simple way to pay tribute to those who lost their lives 14 years ago.

"So they wash those, rinse those, dry them off and then they come back and dry them off and buff it off," said Cathy Hastedt, the director of the University Gallery Arts Department.

She said Bonfire Memorial is one of the largest installations on campus, so she's grateful for all of the volunteers.

"It's very labor intensive," Hastedt said.

But it's work freshman Liliana De Leon did not mind putting her heart and soul into.

"I'm trying to represent them and I know they would try to do this if they could," De Leon said. Because she said it's about, "never forgetting about the ones that are gone."

The anniversary of the collapse is November 18. The cleanup project is put on every year by the University Art Galleries.

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