A Tribute to the Fallen
(A Tribute to those that have fallen or have been injured at Any University)
I want to first-off, share these few words of comfort before I continue-
Lord, please bless and always watch over all the wonderful men and women who have become injured or suffered the loss of their lives while attending a University. Please Lord, be with them, guide and direct them and always keep them warm in Your Bosom. And Most Gracious Heavenly Father, watch over the ones who have been left behind and share with them the warmth that they too will be with their loved ones once again in the afterlife. God Bless. Amen
Last night, I was awakened with a deep need to write about this very important subject and although it is largely contained to this one Subject Area, I want you to know that God does have a plan for every one of us even when it does not seem that way to us. I know that as every young person leaves home and goes to enter any University anywhere, they have apprehension and they have great joy of the mysterious journey that they are about to embark upon. But along with these journeys, there are also hidden sadness that befalls some in so many different and sometimes painful ways. And some, so very sadly, will be taken away from their families and from all of us. And today, I am writing this as my gift to all past, present, and future men and women that will walk upon the ground at any University and especially the Texas A& M University Campus here in College Station, Texas and the University of Texas Campus in Austin, Texas. These last two mentioned are the two Universities responsible for the Greatest Football Rivalry in all of Texas. Yes, in all of Texas at the College Level. Sure, there are some awesome High School Team Rivalries that also have amazing Stories of players who went on to have great College Careers and then even greater NFL Careers too like from Odessa Permian’s The Mojo and the Sweetwater Mustangs and Abilene High and Dave Campbell’s yearly preview of Who’s Who is Football is always a very fun read as all are in the greatest of Hopes for that State Title or College Conference Title or the Win it All-The Crown Jewel in College Football-THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP. And Texas A&M and Texas are both looking mighty sweet this year for sure in the Football Department. Good Luck to all no matter where you are and just always play your very best and afterwards, you will know that you did do your best.
And exactly what I am now writing to you about is one of the most amazing Traditions that I was ever gifted to Attend and that was one of the Bonfires held on the Texas A&M Campus in 1975. And yes, this event and preparing for it has been a Remarkable Tradition in our family and now, I want you to know about the true joy of what the Comradery of Being an Aggie means from attending just one of the most wonderful of Traditions-Bonfire.
Most will agree that going to College is very demanding and it is very enjoyable and one of the things that makes it so fun are the memories that each of us will carry away when we leave and hopefully, graduate. And my father, my brothers, my uncle, my wife, my son, my daughter, and I all went to Texas A&M and when all of us went, all of us got to experience one thing that still sticks out in my mind the most-Bonfire.
And I only went to A&M only one semester and in that fall 1975 and the one thing that still sticks in my mind the most; yes, the one thing that still sticks in my mind the most was absolutely mindboggling and overwhelming to witness. And what was that? Being able to stand and watch the largest and highest fire that I have ever seen burn-actually burn-and it wasn’t a tall building on fire. But I do remember one other thing and that was watching the Aggie Football Games while in the Horseshoe. And the wearing of Maroon and White, but mostly Maroon still greets my mind with joy. And this year, my son and I will be attending the Alabama-Aggie Game at Kyle Field on October 12th and it will be the first time I have stepped foot into Kyle Field in over thirty years.
And I am very blessed by being able to attend this game with my son. And last year, my son took me to a Dallas Cowboys game, and I had not been there since the rookie year of Troy Aikman in 1989. Well, I think it was 1989. And last year, I was totally in awe of what an amazing Stadium that Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones had built for the Cowboys and this AT&T Stadium has been used for many, many other fine sporting events like the PBR-Professional Bull Riding, High School Football State Championships, College Rivalry Games, and other wonderful events. AT&T Stadium is, by far, the finest Sporting Stadium I have ever seen and it was nothing short of enchanting. It is a Palace and like none other. And I am hoping my experience at Kyle Field will be just as wonderful a time as well. But not really just hoping because I know it will be a wonderful time. Yes, a wonderful time for sure. And yes, I am guilty of giving Coach Jimbo Fisher a copy of my book, A Panther’s Father in his Rookie Season as Head Coach of the Fighting Texas Aggies. But that’s another long story.
As I have been a writer most of my life, I write about things that do appeal to me and things that I want to share with others in a sincere Hope that it will bring some form of joy or happiness to you, the reader. And friends, the Aggie Bonfire was such an incredible event that I am not sure that I can truly do it justice no matter how I write about it, but here goes-
As I parked my truck on that faithful night in fall 1975, I was suddenly grabbed by how many other people were walking towards the very same place and that was this huge stack of logs piled up in a sort of three cylinder pyramid manner with an OUTHOUSE at the very top. An OUTHOUSE at the very TOP of this monstrous pile of logs. And why an OUTHOUSE at the very top? Well, it is put there to let you know that the University of Texas belongs in the SHIT in that OUTHOUSE and the Aggie Yell Leaders are gonna set them on fire. Bonfire represents the Burning Desire of A&M to BEAT THE HELL OUT OF tu. (tu represents the University of Texas). This is not in actuality how either Universities view each other, it is only Student Goings-On that I now speak of. This is in Football Rivalry. A Football Rivalry that is so embedded into all the Folklore that makes Texas what it is today.
Texas and Texas A&M would not be what they are today had it not been for this Texas Football Rivalry Game. And the Aggie-Texas Football game was such immense Rivalry and this smash mouth, hard-hitting football was the Greatest Gridiron Rivalry of all time and all the Stories are now still told as the Most Fabled of Tales told all across the State of Texas and is now engrained as Our Texas Folklore. Some of the greatest tales and facts ever told here in Texas all sprang forth from these Texas-A&M games. Yes, some of these games are still talked about in almost revered silence, almost whispered about, and yes, there some that are still spoken with only the greatest of Admiration by both Universities. I do admit it. I do love Texas A&M and always will. I also love Sam Houston State University as they are always putting out good teams as well. And if you can play ball, go play ball. No, not all can play at the Powerhouse Teams, but playing is still fun, so if you can play, just do it. You’ll be glad that you did. College Days are days that a person can grow from and become the best that they can ever become. And if you can’t go, then do it Online! Get that Degree. You can do it.
As a child, I still remember my own father stopping the 1959 Chevy Two Door Biscayne sitting atop a hill on the highway going to Aspermont Texas past Rotan and we just sat there and listened to the Radio. And on that AM ONLY Radio and the only place where my father found a signal, my father, my brothers, and I listened to the AGGIE-TEXAS FOOTBALL GAME and it is one on the only times where I ever saw my father reveal such intense, open excitement for anything. I mean he was on fire and he was so into that game that if you had seen him, you would have sworn that in his mind, he was on the Sideline at the game itself. And then after Texas had won the game, my father was silent and very solemn and then he got out and pushed the car until it started going down that hill. He then jumped in and popped the clutch and off we went back home. And yes, I guess, in a way, he was laying the future seeds for all of us. And why did he push the car with the three-speed manual transmission in it? The battery was too low to start the car. But our father had lite a fire in all of us that none of us realized at that time.
Now as I walked up to the huge pile of trees trunked together and stood there as far as any of us were allowed to go, I watched the Aggie Yell leaders marching around it and others following behind them, and then I saw the Yell Leaders throw lited torches onto the mountain of logs and the fuel assisted lighting started pretty quickly. Yes, in no time, there was a Mountain of Fire ablaze and it was an almost eerie thing to see. A thing that seemed to be coming alive right before all of our eyes and it was talking to all of us with a ROAR that only a Monster of a Fire can do. Yes, it was a sight that was hard to take your eyes off of and it became a towering inferno. Yes, it was hypnotic, and the sight was sinking into every single person watching it. Yes, the sight was electrifying. And there is nothing short of it other than watching a last second touchdown take place against a towering opponent like when Johnny Manziel jolted one of his domineering lightning-bolt throws with the football on that fateful game against Alabama where the Aggies walked away Victorious in 2012. But no, not even his electrifying performances could come close to that Towering Inferno now blazing, talking to all of us.
Yes, that was a game. And then there is the one and only-Bonfire. After the OUTHOUSE falls, the Yell Leaders then begin YELL PRACTICE and it is also a very memorable event for all Aggies who have participated in it. And no matter which part of Texas that you live in, all Texans knew and lived with one folklore tale after another of the Aggie-UT Rivalry. And the games? Gosh, those were the games of all games.
Can you believe that this Rivalry started all the way back to 1894? And Texas has a massive win advantage over the Aggies with the record now standing at 76-37-5. But the Aggies at the end of these games had turned things around by winning the last 10 of the last 11 games. And the last meeting was in 2011 and Texas won that one by a field goal as time expired. But then, the game turned to dust and both teams, both schools walked away from each other. And that is where they are today. In two different Conferences. Sure, there is great talk about getting these two Powerhouse Teams back playing together again, but it just hasn’t materialized as of yet. But somewhere at some point, I do believe that the two will toss aside the past, bury their Cowardness, and set up playing each other again. They do not play each other because they FEAR EACH OTHER.
And then the most negative thing possible thing took place on the Aggie Campus and that was when the ones working on the Bonfire were witness to this massive, towering pile of logs come tumbling down. And on that night, all Aggies all over this Great Nation were completely aghast with uncomfortable disbelief that their cherished Bonfire had fallen before being set ablaze and it was just terrible and the stories that came coming out across time are still just as heartbreaking as the night that it took place. Heartbreaking, heart-wrenching, painful tales for sure. A source of information can be found at the following site-
And as a Tribute to all of you reading this and to all the ones who cannot or have not taken the time to come and pay your moment of silence at this most hallowed of places, I took these pictures of this Memorial that is Remembrance of the Fallen on the Texas A&M Campus. And it still overlooks the place where these fallen were taken away from all of us. Yes, I took these pictures for all of us to see anytime that we want to see them. And by all means, please share them with your friends. I openly gift them to all who wish to copy and paste them or share them. But please, please be so kind to be in sincere remembrance of these fallen and of this most sacred and hallowed ground.
And I can only say this, you will feel something as you take the time to walk amongst this Memorial. For me, it reminded me of walking among other Hallowed Places where my fellow Veterans are buried and where I shall also lay one day. Yes, I do feel that the Spirits of all fallen Aggies can be found here, and I do not believe that they are here not in any kind of sadness. No, they are there in JOY. They are kindred Spirits and the joy of your moment with them is a moment of joy and a place where not just the fallen fell, but it is a Hallowed, Sacred Place where Aggie Spirits come to feed upon all the Comradery that all once found at these amazing Bonfires. Yes, I do believe the Texas A&M University Campus has Aggie Spirits walking amongst the Students and all are there in their happiness.
But come and take the time to visit this place and you’re just taking the time to walk amongst this Tribute to the Fallen is one that you will never forget. I know I won’t. And the pictures are for all who cannot be there.
Pictures link are below and taken by the author of the Bonfire Memorial taken August 12th, 2019 at 2:30 pm. The temperature was 102 degrees by the car temperature thing. Sky was sunny. And oh my, yes, there was something to feel at this place. And now, as you review all 100-plus photos, you will find one very odd thing.
Pictures of a Spirit?
Actual Pictures of the footprints of a fallen Aggie?
A 12th Man Spirit? I don’t know, but when I walked all over this site, there were no footprints anywhere but I did feel a presence by my side.
The grass was dry from the heat.
The ground was dry.
I checked with my hands.
But, there they were.
Footprints magically just up and appearing.
And I took several photos of them from both the topside angle and from the bottom of that hill looking back towards the top.
And one way, I took the foot prints photos, they were there.
Then, they vanished. Just vanished. They were gone.
Hmm…please go to this place and pay your deepest respects.
Just “click” below-
Now, by way of YouTube, here is the Texas A&M Bonfire as it was recorded in 1988. But as you watch this video, take a moment to look at words posted below the video on YouTube-
Now, I know that the wonderful Bonfire represents so many wonderful, positive, and even sacred things to many individuals; it also brought so many other fruitful and warming items, even healing, that go way beyond any person’s Agendas and this fire’s warmth reached out to all who attended. To all who viewed it on TV as well. Bonfire represents a Unified Spirit of All Aggies and always will.
Bonfire is part of Aggie Tradition and I will always believe that Bonfire should return and be held on Campus. The engineering today has achieved many ways to now secure and prevent future problems with the building of the Bonfire, but again, I do believe that if A&M can build a Billion Dollar Football Stadium, then they should by all means RETURN THE BONFIRE the very same year that A&M and Texas play one another in Football again. Yes, in that year, please Return the Bonfire to Campus where it has always belonged and resume Texas’s Greatest Football Rivalry for all times and one of it’s greatest traditions-Bonfire.
Gentlemen, and you know to whom that I do now speak and take it from this old man, it is way past time to bury the Swords and take a moment to truly reflect upon what Traditions are the Most Unifying Ones connecting, bonding all Aggie Students and All UT Students no matter where they are in this World to one another. And yes, the Bonfire was one of the most unifying, electrifying elements in a Student’s Life at Texas A&M in 1975 when I attended. It was for my wife, my brothers, and me. So, time to get’er done. Way past time for sure.
And I can only suggest this-
Play the Game in Jerry’s Golden Palace-AT&T Stadium!!!
Thank you and God Bless you and May God fill your family and you with His Grace Always. And may God keep all of our young men and women safe from all harm at all Universities. Amen.
God Bless…the living breathing James Brown, US Army Veteran, author of A Panther’s Father Book Series.