Opinion: The Aggie War Hymn
Frank Cox: A former head yell leader’s take on a tradition’s future
Published: Friday, April 27, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 21:07
There are two verses — not one — to “The War Hymn.” For decades, we have sung the t.u. verse and repeated it, and sadly, it refers to t.u. more times than it does the Aggies.
Even though I am a traditionalist, I like good change, so I propose that we sing the A&M verse, not the t.u. verse. In fact, we should have always sung the A&M verse.
Now that we are going to the SEC, now that we won’t even be playing t.u., now that we have left them behind — now is also the time to leave the verse about t.u. behind! How can singing about a team we are not even playing “fire-up” our team? So let’s sing the A&M verse only, dropping the t.u. verse in its entirety.
It boils down to this: It’s time to turn the Longhorns loose.
Failing to do so would give our new SEC rivals additional ammunition to ridicule us — and, given the legacy of some of the schools’ manners, that’s not something we want to do. The change would put A&M at the forefront of our song rather than t.u. As much as we hate t.u., we love A&M more.
We can still hope t.u. loses every football game between now and eternity. But that doesn’t mean they have to be the focus of our school’s obsession.
We don’t have to abandon what we know altogether — we’ll still sway and saw varsity’s horns off. In fact, we must continue that tradition. It is unique, a kind of recognizable brand for the University and valuable during national television exposure.
How can we saw off any horns if not Texas’? It’s simple. Every team we play is a varsity — we don’t play junior varsity squads. And as for the horns, that too is still appropriate to sing against every opponent. I know most of you have seen (and possibly worn) the Aggie T-shirt that says, “Saw off the horns of the wicked.” Opponents may not be “wicked” in the sense of being evil, but they are “wicked” in the sense of being our opponent in a sporting event, and yes, we do want to saw off their wickedness — represented by horns.
This change begins with the student body. The words to the A&M verse are printed on this page — learn them. Teach the incoming freshmen this verse. The yell leaders can emphasize it during each Midnight Yell.
Then the Association of Former Students needs to send the verse out in its publications. The Athletics Department can publish the verse in football programs. For the first few games, we can run the words on the Jumbotron to ease the transition and encourage participation.
With these steps, it won’t take long for the A&M verse to be the tradition, as it should be.
If you agree, tell your student leaders before the semester closes. Decisions are being made about this issue now. Take a stand so that we can make this change once and for all.
As our move to the SEC was a lifetime commitment, this too will affect Aggieland for a lifetime. We Aggies have never been afraid of change as long as it is good change. We know this is good change, so let’s get it done.
Frank Cox, Class of 1965, is a former head yell leader, 1992 Campus Muster speaker and author of “I Bleed Maroon.”