Howdy, Ags. To the Class of 2017, welcome to Texas A&M University. To those who've returned to Aggieland, welcome back! At this institution, we talk a lot about selfless service - willingly and joyfully sacrificing our time and resources, while expecting nothing in return. In fact, this University and its traditions are rooted in service and self-sacrifice; just take a walk through the MSC. Throughout our history, Aggies have found ways to boldly serve this nation, state and most importantly, their fellow man.
Silver Taps is the most special and intimate tradition on this campus and probably the most unique tribute in the United States, if not the world. To simply be in attendance is the most selfless act you could perform for the loved ones of your fellow Aggie. The gesture of standing in total darkness with a bunch of strangers on a Tuesday night is powerful and greatly appreciated by the visiting families. When there is no elbow room on the grass in front of the Academic Building, and the only sound is the wind through the Century Tree, it's easy to see what the Aggie family is all about.
Unfortunately, we again must perform the amazing act of solidarity that is Silver Taps. Attendance for Silver Taps is traditionally strong in September because of Fish Camp group involvement and the excitement that accompanies the beginning of a new year. Slowly but surely, the numbers dwindle until only the Corps and a few truly dedicated Aggies come to share in the embrace of the families. We owe it to our brothers' and sisters' families to be standing there when we tell them that we cared about their loved one and what they did with
To be clear: There is nothing "in it for you." You aren't dismissed from your Wednesday 8 a.m. or given a humanitarian award. Silver Taps is solely another medium through which Aggies experience the hidden joy and value in the tradition of selfless-service.
In the past, the square area between Nagle, Bolton Hall, the YMCA Building and the Academic Building was full of Aggies standing together to honor those at Silver Taps; that was when the University had significantly less students. How much larger could our symbol of respect be with a student body of 50,000 Aggies?
Please, on behalf of the families of the fallen, I ask that you carve 30 to 45 minutes out of your busy life on a Tuesday night. Surrender that time to the grieving families and join us as we honor the lives of our fellow Aggies. Show up at Academic Plaza on Tuesday night. The ceremony starts precisely at 10:30 p.m.
Your presence alone is an amazing act of compassion and selflessness.
How many people would you want to comfort and serve your family at Silver Taps?
Respectfully and dutifully at your service,
Firing Squad Commander '14
Ross Volunteer Company