Keenan Singleton Audrey Warren
Texas A&M University has some of the most devout (some may say extreme)
fans among colleges, and some of the strongest held traditions.
Spirit is a great thing at a college. We lack it quite often here at
UH. There is probably a warm feeling Aggies get inside as they stand during
the entire football game,
singing cheering and whooping. But, everything in moderation.
Perhaps one of the most well-known A&M traditions is the Aggie bonfire,
which marks a rivalry between its arch-rival, the University of Texas.
That bonfire became
infamous Nov. 18, 1999 when it collapsed and killed 12 Aggies and injured
A&M subsequently placed a moratorium on the tradition, with plans
to revive it after safety improvements and plans were designed. That time,
it seems, may have
come. An announcement was made this week on the cost to rebuild the
bonfire again in fall 2002. The price tag? Roughly $1.5 million.
College spirit is wonderful; it helps create a lifetime of wonderful
memories and fill yearbook pages. The tradition at A&M is the bonfire,
the actual act of lighting a stack of
wood and watching it go up in flames with lots of cheerleaders and
maroon-clad students. It is a tradition that some parents of the students
who died have said they would
like to see continue.
But, the tradition should not continue the same way and should certainly
not exceed $1 million.
It may be important for the bonfire tradition to return, but it can
never come back the same -- ask any parent of those deceased students.
Even those parents who want
to see that flame light up the sky again would probably say it would
hold a different meaning.
It's ludicrous for the university to believe it can add a few safety
experts with a lot of money and restore the tradition back to normal. The
bonfire tradition has changed for
A&M, and so upon its return, it too should have changed.
A smaller bonfire would be no less symbolic than a large, dangerous,
expensive one. It would continue the tradition, cost less and show that
the university doesn't
expect things to return to normal after only a couple of years.
Nearly all college students support traditions and spirit, but in A&M's
case it must be done with the understanding that once something has changed
so drastically, there is
no going back, no matter how much money is pumped in to force it.