As many people know, Texas A&M is a school full of traditions. While many of these are light-hearted and include standing at football games, wildcats, and cleansing our class rings in pitchers of beer, there are a few solemn and serious traditions we hold near and dear to our hearts.
One of these and perhaps one of the most important is Aggie Muster.
Every year, on April 21st, thousands upon thousands of Aggies gather in more than 300 locations around the world to Muster.
To Muster is to remember those Aggies we have lost in the last year, and to show them that we still care for them. It is also a chance for the graduating class of Aggies from 50 years ago, to reunite and revisit the campus they loved so much.
Being a first generation Aggie, the word "Muster" was unfamiliar to me until I set foot on campus over two years ago. Even though I did not know what it meant, or what it felt like, I knew Muster was important, and on April 21st of my freshman year, I gathered in Reed Arena with over 10,000 members of my Aggie family and remembered the Aggies of years past.
It was something unlike anything I had ever experienced before. The roll call, followed by a stadium full of "Here"s, was haunting. The candles were beautiful, and the respect in the room was undeniable.
When describing Texas A&M, you often hear "from the outside looking in you can't understand it, from the inside looking out you can't explain it", and no phrase has ever rung truer.
This year, I was lucky enough to attend my second Aggie Muster. On that rainy Saturday, after watching thousands of Aggies stand on Texas Avenue to pay tribute to Former First Lady Barbara Bush, I watched the same Aggies file into Reed Arena, ready to stand once again for our family.
At my second Muster, I had the honor of saying "Here" for two of my peers, something I had not intended to do this early on in my Aggie career. While the loss of both of these amazing women was hard to revisit, knowing that the entire stadium would answer for them at Roll Call provided the support and love that many people only feel once or twice in their lifetimes.
Muster, while a solemn tradition, is one of the most time-honored and sacred among Texas A&M students, faculty, and graduates. I encourage every Aggie to attend at least one of these ceremonies and to really think about why we Muster.
There is really nothing quite like it, and it is the truest form of the Aggie spirit.
"Softly call the Muster, let comrade answer, Here!"