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Display gives face to fallen Aggies

Published: Friday, April 20, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 22:07

Display gives face to fallen Aggies

James Thompson — THE BATTALION

Students can visit the Reflections Display in Rudder Exhibit Hall on Friday to learn about Aggies honored during Muster. Pictured are mementos of Joseph Villavisencio, Class of 2012, who died in a car accident in December.

The memorable and honorary tradition of Muster is just around the corner and the Reflections Display was made available to students Thursday. More than 40 Aggies are honored in this year’s Reflections Display, the first of four events for Muster.

Walking through the display, students can view a collection of items reflecting the life of each Aggie being honored. Letters and collages made by friends and family, pictures, paintings and other personal items communicate the legacy of the Aggies whose names will be called during Roll Call for the Absent in the Muster ceremony.

Kari Galipp, senior nutrition sciences major and Reflections Display co-coordinator, said they began contacting families for memorabilia at the beginning of the spring semester.

“The whole Muster committee is involved in putting together the display, and we become very close with the families of the Aggies we are honoring,” Galipp said. “Whether families send in items through mail or we meet up to get them, we become personally connected to each of the Aggies in the display.”

Galipp said the families and friends find comfort in contributing to the display and knowing that A&M has not forgotten about their loved one.

“Being part of the display and even viewing it makes you appreciate being an Aggie,” Galipp said. “Not only are we the only school that has a ceremony to remember students that passed, we also hold a display to honor each of them.”

Mary Anna Hill, senior political science major and Reflections Display co-coordinator, said being involved in the Reflections Display is one of the most rewarding experiences she has had as an Aggie.

“It’s been so moving to hear families sharing the stories and memories. We even send back pictures of the display to family members,” Hill said. “I feel like we’re doing something meaningful for the families and friends who lost their loved ones.”

Hill said the displays tell each Aggie’s story and reminds students of how they are all connected.

“As students view the display they’re able to see the lives of Aggies [who who have died] and know that when their time comes, they too will be honored. Their name will be called at Roll Call and someone will say ‘Here’ for them,” Hill said. “Aggies don’t forget about other Aggies.”

Alexandra Borden, junior psychology major and Muster host, said she became involved in the Reflections Display to see the personalities of the Aggies remembered on Muster.

“It gives me a more personal connection to them. The display shows me what their life was like and who they were,” Borden said. “Muster is my favorite Aggie tradition and during the ceremony I’ll be able to say ‘Here’ for the Aggies I know from the display.”

The Reflections Display includes the senior boots of Ernest Shillingburg, Class of 1943.

“We’re honored to be able to display the senior Aggie Boots. It’s amazing to be able to see something people put their blood, sweat and tears into for four years to earn,” Borden said. “The boots are so highly regarded in the Corps of Cadets and a great way to remember the dedicated cadet.”

Stephanie Hernandez, freshmen international studies major, said she looks forward to attending her first Muster, and the Reflections Display gave her a new perspective on one of the oldest Aggie traditions.

“The display personally connects you to the Aggie honorees. In viewing their memorabilia, you realize we hold every Aggie dear to our hearts and respect them,” Hernandez said. “We still care about the details that made them who they are. The display shows us they’re still a part of A&M.”

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