Ten years ago this morning, I got two calls before 6:00 am. I don’t remember my exact schedule, but I do know I probably didn’t have to be on campus before 9:00, so people didn’t usually call me at this time. I ignored the first call. I found out, later, in an unexpected way that it was my mom. But, the first call woke me up, so when the second call came, I answered it. It was my friend Eric. Bonfire collapsed, he said. “So what,” I answered, somewhat perturbed to have been woken up (I’m guessing I had rehearsal the night before). Bonfire had fallen in 1994. I knew. I grew up in College Station. They rebuilt it. What was the big deal?

Bonfire ’94 had fallen weeks before burn. When Bonfire ’94 fell, it was raining. The ground shifted and it fell. Bonfire ’99 fell during push. Bonfire ’99 fell at 2:42 in the morning. Bonfire ’99 fell with at least 60 people on site. Bonfire ’99 killed 12 students and injured 27 more. That, Kelly, was the big deal.

Just after 6:00, my mother knocked on my apartment door, just this side of panicked because I didn’t answer the phone and she knew what I didn’t. I say just this side of panicked because she stopped for donuts. Yes, my family has an unhealthy relationship with food.

We watched the news (hey, we made the national news!) and ate our donuts until it was time to go to work and class. I don’t remember much about that day. I do remember walking to my Beginning Drawing class (which I fucking hated, and doesn’t that seem unimportant now) and hearing helicopters. At least two news helicopters (Mom says it was four), their noise echoing so loudly between the buildings that I thought the sound was inside me as I walked to the architecture building. It's amazing how many people recall that detail, the campus was silent, save for the noise of the helicopters infecting everything. We all hoped our prof would take pity on us and dismiss class. But no, we drew still life of one form or another, no one really there, everyone a few hundred yards away on the polo field.

We went to the polo field, stood silent vigil, walked, prayed, dealt. We had a tough week. Elephant Walk, I recall, was particularly miserable. We beat t.u. We started to heal.

Today is the 10th anniversary of Bonfire ’99. Today would have been Bonfire’s centennial. What an amazing celebration that would have been.

I have amazing memories of eight Bonfires, which is double what most students got to experience. Being a townie isn’t all bad. Bonfire ’98 was one of the most amazing nights of my life. Had I known then, I wouldn’t have done anything differently, but I would commit so much more to memory.

I don’t think Bonfire will ever return to campus. You have to weigh the cost. The price of 12 brothers and sisters is much too high. We are a community steeped in tradition. In discussing the Bonfire of ’63, the only other Bonfire not to burn (in honor of JFK), a Yell Leader said, “it was the most we had, and the least we could give.” I feel the same way about Bonfire now. We honor the dead with the most we have and the least we can give. They gave much more.

Monday, I was able to read all the way through this month’s Texas Monthly article, which took over 100 hours of interviews and gave a timeline of those events, from first cut to the victory over Texas. It was the first time I have ever been able to read anything about Bonfire ’99. Please don’t mistake this statement for hyperbole. I have never been able to stomach the thought of what happened. I have a stack of magazines and newspaper articles from ’99 that are sitting in my cedar chest, waiting to be read. I’ve never opened one of them.

It hurts. It hurts like today is November 19, 1999. If it hurts me this much, I know there are tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of Aggies out there who hurt just as much as I do, and some so much more. Those that lost a best friend. A son. A sister. A buddy.

I attended both the Bonfire Memorial and the 2:42 service last night. It was hard. It was moving. But it was strange to stand there with a crowd of people who had never seen a Bonfire (a real Bonfire). These kids were in Elementary when this happened. But, the Spirit is still there. It’s not the same. But, I suppose it never is, is it?



Bonfire ‘99

Miranda, Chris B., Michael, Jeremy, Jamie, Chris H., Tim, Lucas, Bryan, Chad, Jerry, Nathan

We remember. As long as there are Aggies, you will never be forgotten.




It's the Spirit of Aggieland.
...want you back.

Obligatory airport post! I'm on my way to Texas! FREEBIRDS FOR LUNCH, YO! I'm very excited, as it's the first week of school there, so there will be buzzing around campus and football things and $5 t-shirts and First Yell and Yell Practice and Freebirds and Double Dave's and Koppe Bridge Road and, YES, IT IS ALL ABOUT FOOD! Apparently, I should have eaten a more substancial breakfast. I'll get a taco @ Pappasito's when I get to Houston.

Also. I'm carrying my mom's R2D2 through the airport. You should have seen the looks I got @ security.

I'm about to board...updates later. FREEBIDSOMG!
Last night was great!

I had a google earth moment when we were landing because we came out of the clouds from the south and made a perfect S over B/CS, so I got to see things I knew from the air (there's nothing quite like seeing Kyle Field from the sky). *shivers*

I felt a little crappy after landing (although the flight to College Station was better than to Dallas). We went home and I changed, then we did the two Texas things I've been waiting for for quite a while...Hobby Lobby (with a side trip to Loupot's) and FREEBIRD'S!!!!

Freebirds was as awesomely good as I remember. But my mom told my roller that it was my birthday, and the girl screamed the birthday song, embarrasing me fairly well.

Then we just drove around, looking at things that'd changed since I left. We ended up at Kroger's and mom bought me one of those tiny cakes that serves two, but I couldn't eat it because I was still so full from Freebirds.

Air travel not withstanding, it was a pretty great birthday.
VACATION!!!!!!! Aggies and grandmas and grandpas and FREEBIRDS! and good mexican food and Aggie football game and First Yell with Bill Engval and Midnight Yell and Graham and real barbeque and yay!

And tonight's scifi Friday!!!!!

I haven't been motivated to do any packing...that's gonna bite me on the ass here in a few hours.

I have a big Space: Above and Beyond post, but I'll save it for while I'm waiting in the terminal tomorrow.

VACATION!!!!!! yay!
With no outside encouragement from me whatsoever, MY LITTLE SISTER HAS BECOME A STAR WARS GEEK!!one!

I'm sorry to be so capslocky about it, but...my sisters and I have never lived together, and I try very hard not to impose my geekitude onto them. Chris and I have always loved Harry Potter together (in fact, she loved the books far before I even heard of them). But the other day, I sent an email to the Colorado fam with some pictures attached (including this one )) because the stepmom wanted to see how good the camera they got me for Christmas is.

So, I got an email from Chris yesterday that said thanks for sending the pictures...especially the star wars one because i've just recently become a star wars freak! Then she goes on to tell me that all her friends are and they're jedi and she's a padawan and how they fight with plastic lightsabers and I swear I almost cried. My father is probably having a heart attack. I have a feeling he really doesn't want those two to turn out like me...but...MWAH!!!!

And her favorite movie is (insert giggle here) Episode 2. That couldn't have anything to do with Hayden, and the fact she's 18, ya think?

In less geeky news, my vacation got approved! Yay! So I will be going to College Station and visiting my mom and eating freebirds and finally seeing Bonfire Memorial and going to an Aggie Football game (which I haven't done since the week after bonfire fell) and going to First Yell (my first) with Bill Engvall as the special guest and visiting my grandparents. Yay! I guess I'm going to have to get out the Aggie primer and relearn all the yells. But I still know Beat the Hell Outta t. u. Whoop! (In retrospect, that wasn't that much less geeky, oh well).

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