Thousands will gather in Reed Arena at 7 p.m. Friday, not for a basketball or volleyball game, but to celebrate and commemorate the Aggie Spirit during the 134th Muster Ceremony.
Aggie Muster is a worldwide tradition in which Aggies gather to reflect on the previous year and remember Aggies who have died in the year since the last Muster ceremony. Over the past week, the Reflections Display in the Flag Room has given students a chance to get a glimpse of the lives of those whose names will be called through photographs and memorabilia displayed by the family members.
The Class of 1967 will be back on campus for its 50-year reunion and will attend a barbecue from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday at the Northeast Plaza of Kyle Field, before going to the Muster Ceremony. The barbecue is meant as a way for Aggies both young and old to join together in camaraderie and the Aggie Spirit.
The campus Roll Call to be honored at the Muster ceremony stands at 117 at time of press, and the worldwide Roll Call surpasses 1,600. More than 13,000 people are expected to attend the ceremony in Reed Arena. Students, family members or visitors who knew the person called, who shares their class year or who feels inclined may answer “Here” when the name is read aloud to show that person is still a member of the Aggie community.
“We try to raise awareness at the end of the day that not every student is going to want to attend or cannot attend, so that is difficult for us as well and wanting everyone to be involved with Muster,” said Marikit Tomlinson, Muster Committee Chair and Class of 2016. “I think Muster is a really humbling experience because this is a really great place, not just a place to get an education. It’s a place that really is a family and will take the time to honor you when you are gone, not just in these four years but in your life.”
Eddie Davis, Class of 1967, will be the keynote speaker at this year’s ceremony, and said Muster is what makes A&M so unique and special.
“We always talk about how unique A&M is, and Muster is one of those things that makes A&M unique because it was started as a way for Aggies to gather and it has extended over time for Aggies wherever they are to gather,” Davis said. “I think it is paying respect to fellow Aggies, to the institution you care about and paying respect to those that have passed on. It’s very, very unique, and it makes it special.”
Erin Youngblood, university studies senior and Roll Call and Families sub-chair, said one of her favorite parts of Muster is the Reflections Display.
“I like to think of the Displays as an epicenter for all of the Muster activities that happen during the week,” Youngblood said. “As you walk around the room you notice how things like styles and quality of pictures change, but things like diplomas, Aggie Rings and the true Spirit of Aggieland have not.”
Katy DeLeon, biomedical sciences junior and Programs Executive, said if not for Muster she would not have the closely knit group of friends who work on the Muster Committee today.
“We are from all over and would not have met if not for Muster and the campus community,” DeLeon said. “I hope that [attendees] are just reminded of how strong the Aggie spirit is and take time to really figure out what it means to them, attend Muster on campus and in their hometowns and keep the tradition alive.”
Tomlinson said watching the families’ and students’ reactions is what makes Muster truly special and is the whole reason the Committee works all year.
“For the families, we really just want them to feel a sense of peace in getting to honor a loved one at Muster and getting to close that Aggie chapter in their life even if the family isn’t from A&M,” Tomlinson said. “It’s just really cool because you work all year for one day, so getting to know the families and see that it is creating an impact on people’s lives and how it really means a lot to them means a lot to me.”