The first time I sat in Reed Arena was for Fish Camp 2014 Session D’s send-off. As a first-generation Aggie, I had no clue that in that same building I would experience one of the biggest transformations of my life.

By the time you read this, Aggies in faraway places like Sydney and Taiwan will have already taken part in our greatest duty and honor as members of the Aggie family — Muster. Today, the Aggie family will come together in all parts of the world to participate in the 133rd rendition of this tradition.

These traits are what make Aggie Muster unique and uniting. To be honored at a Muster either on campus or around the world, there are no restrictions except having attended Texas A&M. When a person’s name is read off the Roll Call and we say “here” for them, it does not matter how that person lived their life. It doesn’t matter what race, gender, financial status, sexuality or religious beliefs that person held. The only thing that matters is that we are there in their place to honor them simply because they are a member of our Aggie family.

Aggie Muster is one of the few tangible ways the student body has left in the year to truly be there for one another.  For Aggies, Muster is the last main event of each year — and is the perfect time to reflect and to remember the past. Although Muster’s principal purpose is to honor the fallen, I feel this service has an even deeper impact for all those present. The unification of the 50-year reunion class and current student body allows for this tradition to impact the living by allowing us to bond. Without Muster, we would not be able to have the privilege of interacting and celebrating with so many amazing trailblazers who allowed Texas A&M to become the respected institution it is today.

Listening to the Class of 1965 — The 2015 Muster reunion class — say “here” in unison 31 times for their fallen peers 50 years after they graduated reignited a sense of hope within me for the future. No matter how much time passes or how much Texas A&M may change, the Aggie family truly stays with you forever.

After attending Fish Camp and learning about Muster, I left promising myself that I would be in attendance on April 21, 2015. I was able to experience Muster by serving an honored family as a Muster host. I guided them through Reed Arena, showed them their seats and left.

Despite anything I said to them, I felt like my words were not enough to make up for all of their pain. I decided to pray for them — I prayed that God allow this family to heal. I prayed they would find the strength necessary to overcome this difficult time. And I prayed Muster would be a meaningful experience for them because I could see how much the entire family needed this.

After Muster I could see in their faces just how much the ceremony had impacted them. Besides mentioning how beautiful all of the proceedings were, the main thing that impacted them was the fact that there were so many people there for their loved one.

One day, you and I will be honored at a Muster somewhere. Someone somewhere will say “here” in our place and will be there for our grieving families. Until that day comes, I hope you join me in being in attendance every April 21 at the Muster nearest to you because it is the least we can do as Aggies.

If you are at all interested in preserving this tradition for generations to come, then I encourage you to come to be at Reed Arena this Thursday night. “To live it. To preserve it. To be there.”

Malenie Areche is supply chain management sophomore and serves on the 2016 Muster Committee as the database coordinator.

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