Bonfire Memorial reopens at Texas A&M University after renovations

Published: Nov. 4, 2019 at 4:11 PM CST
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The memorial marking the site where 12 Texas A&M University students were killed in 1999 is back open after weeks of renovations.

The university replaced the gravel walkways around the memorial with a solid material. According to the university, one of the original contractors involved helped with renovations. Robert Shemwell of Overland Partners, Inc. in San Antonio settled on a new walkway material that maintained the memorial's original design.

"It’s just really important that we make sure that the memorial is accessible for everyone. We want faculty, staff, students, visitors all to know that the memorial is here for you," said Kristie Orr, Texas A&M Director of Disability Resources.

"That's in keeping with trying to make sure that it's more accessible to all kinds of people so if you're using a wheelchair or a walker, or pulling a stroller or pulling a wagon it's more accessible," she said.

"I think they did a tremendous job on this to make it so personal," said Beeville resident Sara Dunn. She and her husband came to see their grandson who's a current student. They also wanted to see the place where tragedy struck nearly 20 years ago.

"I know the agony that these parents have gone through because we lost an adult son and there's... It's not supposed to be that way. They're supposed to bury us," she said.

"This is worth people knowing about," Dunn said.

Thanks to the new walkway surface, Dunn's husband was able to easily walk with his cane down to the memorial.

Work was delayed a few days because of recent rain. The site will be ready for the 20th anniversary of the collapse on November 18. Thousands are expected to gather at the location on November 18 at 2:42 a.m. to remember those students killed in 1999.

The memorial site is open 24 hours a day. If you want to learn more about the memorial, visit their website in the related link section.