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Editorial: Respect fallen, their family

Published: Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, September 5, 2012 16:09

Silver Taps — one of the oldest and most hallowed traditions at A&M — serves to honor Aggies who have died while attending graduate or undergraduate courses at Texas A&M.

In preparation for our Silver Taps editions of The Battalion, our reporters interview friends and family members of those being honored during that month’s ceremony. We learn their stories. We learn about their childhood, their hobbies, their passions and their unrequited plans for the future. More often than not, these legacies are relayed to us over tear-filled phone interviews.

During Silver Taps, it can be easy to allow a name to pass through you without resonation. As you stand in the stillness tonight, as the crack of the rifles and mournful tones of the bugles reverberate through Academic Plaza, keep in mind that within each name lays the life of a student just like you. And remember, it could just as easily be your name echoing out into the dark.

We are a University known for its adherence to tradition. Be it Midnight Yell, the Aggie Ring, the Century Tree or the MSC, every Aggie is bound together by a unique sense of place, language and practice. But as a family, the characteristic that sets us apart the most is our acceptance and respect of our own mortality.

At 10:15 p.m. the first Tuesday of the month, as needed from September to April, chimes sound from Albritton Bell Tower. At 10:30 p.m. the ceremony begins.

Ross Volunteers Firing Squad will march in a slow cadence to Sul Ross Statue, before firing three volleys, the names are spoken and “Silver Taps” is played by six buglers three times — to the north, west and south — because the sun will never again rise on the Aggies we have lost.

Students remain silent and lights are darkened on campus out of respect to the fellow Aggies who have fallen.

Today, cadets stand guard around the area between the Academic Building and Sul Ross Statue, reserving a space for family and friends of the deceased.

Silver Taps is meant to honor and remember our fellow Aggies, but it is also an opportunity to offer a sign of respect to the family and friends of the deceased. It is important for students — on and off campus — to attend the ceremony.

This is what Silver Taps and, to a larger extent, Muster, is all about — the celebration of life through the acknowledgment of its finite nature. There is nothing like it in any other university in the country.

If you live off campus, free parking at University Center Garage will be available from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.

To those of you who live on campus, remember to be quite at or near Academic Plaza as well as turn off lights from 10:15 to 11 p.m.


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