Another school year has begun and with it the revival of several A&M traditions. Standing on the wood during football games. Saying “Howdy” to Aggies you pass by. But few traditions rival the importance of Silver Taps.
I realize many of you have had the importance of Silver Taps pounded into your heads time and time again, be it through your Fish Camp, the various campus-wide emails you receive or wherever else. But at the risk of getting lost in the other requests, let me try to convince you.
Throughout my time at The Battalion I’ve written a few Silver Taps articles, stories like the ones you’ll read in today’s paper. And there is no experience more humbling.
Listening to mothers cry as she fondly recounts the life of her child.
Hearing a father’s voice break as he tells a favorite memory.
Waiting while a best friend pauses on a sob as they tell me about the time their friend ate all the cupcakes they had made together.
These people are not just names you scroll by in your inbox each month. They’re not just the echoing sound of gunshots breaking the heavy silence on the first Tuesday of each month.
They’re someone’s child, niece or nephew, best friend. They’re an Aggie.
Talking to the loved ones of Silver Taps honorees has been a transformational experience for me. It has taught me that my time on Earth isn’t measured by the accomplishments I make, but by the lives I touch. And each and every time I stand with my fellow Aggies in Academic Plaza, I am reminded of the fact that the world is different because of the lives of the people we’re standing for.
It’s easy to find excuses not to go to Silver Taps. I have a test tomorrow. I didn’t get much sleep last night. I live off campus and traffic and parking will be awful.
But I guarantee the inconveniences you may face in coming to Silver Taps do not come close to the difficulties the families and friends of the seven people being honored Tuesday night have and continue to face.
If Tuesday will be your first Silver Taps ceremony — whether you’re a freshman or a senior — I encourage you to really listen to the silence and think about what standing in the plaza for half an hour may mean to the people who are also standing there, but standing for a loved one they’ve lost.
I may not have known Monisha, Jack, Zhong-Hao, Alexander, Anton, Callie or Cassidy personally. But, as the saying goes, attending Silver Taps is the least I can do and the most I can give. Here.
Sam King is a communication senior and editor-in-chief for The Battalion.