I remember being no older than six when I stood next to my parents at my first Aggie Muster in Virginia. “Here” followed each name called out, and the ceremony’s barbecue, shared memories and Roll Call gave me a memory whose lessons last to this day — an Aggie should attend Muster because Muster brings the Aggie family together as no other tradition can.

Despite being the child of two die hard Aggies I grew up 1,300 miles away from Aggieland in Richmond, Virginia. My parents tried their best to indoctrinate me into Aggie culture with stuffed Reveilles and maroon clothing, but the most impactful was a book called “A is for Aggie.”

The book used letters to explain every A&M tradition.  If you haven’t guessed it, “M” was for Muster and the page explained that Muster was a tradition at A&M that honored the Aggies who passed away during the previous year.

“A is for Aggie” gave me an idea of what Muster was as a ceremony, but it didn’t prepare me for the joy Muster gives the Aggie family as a tradition. My first Muster I saw Aggies of all ages gather around good food to reminisce about their days on campus. That Muster — like all Musters across the world — combined the remembrance of those fellow Aggies who had passed away with the nostalgia of days long gone.

I got a taste of what made A&M different from so many other universities, and I started to understand that we are a family that supports each other in mourning and celebration. I wouldn’t fully understand this concept until I participated in my first Muster on campus.

My freshman year I was given the incredible chance to serve as a host for the 2015 Muster. As a host I had the opportunity to work at the Muster Barbecue, which brings current students and the 50-year reunion class together to interact over good food, and Good Bull.

The experience reminded me so much of my first Muster experience, and I immediately felt called to serve Texas A&M through planning the Muster Barbeque, a job I hold this year. Though my job primarily deals with the celebratory aspects of Muster, attending the Muster ceremony and serving on committee has shown me how supportive the Aggie family can be in times of mourning.

I implore every student, faculty member or member of the community to find the time to attend Muster whether you’ve been going to Muster for years or have never attended before. I can speak from experience that Muster has profoundly affected me, and that I left the Muster ceremony last year with a new perspective on A&M.

I always heard people talk about the Aggie family in my childhood, but hearing or reading about something is not the same as experiencing it. Take part in an experience that shows just how impactful the Aggie family can be — in your personal life, and in the lives of others. Attend the Camaraderie Barbecue and visit the Reflections Display; sit still in Reed Arena’s silence and watch hundreds of candles alight in memory of lives lost.

Be at Muster so others may always be ‘here,’ and see just how present the Aggie family can be.

Reilly Lowe is a political science sophomore and is a Camaraderie Coordinator on the 2016 Muster Committee.

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