I do not remember what I did April 21, 2014, but I do know what I missed. I didn’t visit the Reflections Display to see how a single heartbeat can mean the world to family and to friends. I never whispered “here” for the students I stood for at Silver Taps and memorialized in writing for this newspaper. And I didn’t hear my own heart beat in the stillness of Reed Arena, or feel it jump when three rifle volleys cracked the silence.
I did not attend Muster my sophomore year, and it is the biggest regret of my college experience. I’m sure I was busy — late April is primetime for projects and exams — but two years later, the memory of that late night is blended with countless others exactly like it.
The opportunity to create a college experience that remains sharp and clear throughout a lifetime passes quickly, and the best memory Texas A&M can give is just two days away — Aggie Muster.
Muster stands apart from Texas A&M’s countless other traditions because of its purpose and its scope. Muster is a call to action — remember those no longer with us by celebrating their lives. Eat barbeque and “Good Bull” with the 50-year reunion class. Stand in Reed Arena. Whisper, “Here.”
Muster gives a very real answer to the phrase every Aggie freshman brags about to their hometown friends during their first college visit home — “From the outside looking in you can’t understand it, and from the inside looking out you can’t explain it.”
It is an easy response to friends and acquaintances who ask whether or not the Aggie family exists, but it is unnecessary. Simply invite them to Muster. And more importantly, attend Thursday’s campus ceremony yourself.
If you are a student leader, invite your organization to visit the Reflections Display and to sit in Reed Arena together. If you have homework, put in an hour or two of extra work Tuesday and Wednesday to free up Thursday evening. And if you’re a faculty member, be considerate with any assignments due this week.
Do not let the small pleasures and responsibilities of the everyday shadow the opportunity to make a lasting experience. Muster will not make you graduate on time, it will not complete your homework or get you a job. But in one, two or 20 years you will remember the darkness of Reed Arena and how a whispered ‘here’ echoes louder than death.
John Rangel is an aerospace engineering senior and science and technology editor for The Battalion.