Silver Taps will be held at Texas A&M University Tuesday (Feb. 7) to honor the memory of six Aggies.
Those to be honored include Lorraine Farquhar “Patrick” Armstrong III, a sophomore history major from Albuquerque, N.M., who died Nov. 21; Austin Vickers Warner, a junior communications major from Lufkin, who died Dec. 5; George “Robert” Long III, a sophomore animal science major from Crandall, who died Dec. 13; Joseph Andrew Villavisencio, a senior radiological health engineering major from Jacksonville, who died Dec. 22; George Robert Collins Jr., a freshman general studies major from Dallas, who died Dec. 29; and Michael Wayne Vogel, a graduate student majoring in international affairs from Westerly, R.I., who died Jan. 18.
Silver Taps, one of the university’s most solemn traditions, was first held in 1898 upon the death of the university’s president, Lawrence Sullivan Ross, and has changed little from that time. It is held the first Tuesday of the month between September and April to honor the memory of any currently enrolled Texas A&M student who has died since the last Silver Taps ceremony was held.
On the day of the ceremony, all campus flags are flown at half-staff, and the names of those to be remembered are posted at the base of the flagpole in the Academic Plaza. A box is placed at the foot of the Sul Ross statue, where students may place letters of condolence. These are then passed on to the family of each student to be honored. The family is notified of the ceremony and sent a floral arrangement by university officials.
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 fire three rifle volleys to honor the memory of these students. Buglers from the Aggie Band, unseen in the darkness, will play a special arrangement of “Taps.” The tolling of the Albritton Tower bells will signal the end of the ceremony.
In case of rain or dangerous lightning, the ceremony will be moved to Duncan Dining Hall. Free parking in the University Center Garage will be available between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m. For more information, go http://studentaffairs.tamu.edu/sas/silvertaps.
For more information, contact Student Assistance Services at (979) 845-3113.