I would like to step aside from the the normal motivating updates and say a quick word about a Tradition whose origins started with the honoring of the death of Lawrence Sullivan Ross in 1898 and have continued through today.
Silver Taps, as we all know, is the final tribute paid to an Aggie who, at the time of his or her death, was enrolled in graduate or undergraduate classes at A&M. The phrase “final tribute” in the old campusology has always stood out to me. Often times the names being honored are names we have never heard before. Young men and young women, like you and I, excited about their futures and excited about the opportunity to be an Aggie. Far too often the only official relation we have to those being honored at Silver Taps is that we were simply Aggies together. That’s it.
That alone, however, is a bond strong enough to transcend anything that made us different. It is this bond that comprises such an important part of the “Spirit that can ne’er be told.” It is what makes Aggieland so much more special than any other place on this Earth. Silver Taps is OUR final opportunity to come together as Aggies. Our final opportunity to unite as one student body and celebrate the life as well as mourn the passing of one of our own.
The reason I so heavily emphasize this today is due to what I saw Tuesday. As I looked across the plaza I saw open spaces throughout crowds of people scattered here and there. While I saw the Crews and Corps take their places, early as always, my heart sank as I thought that perhaps too many others may have forgotten the importance this Tradition.
Taking a single hour out of our month to remember those that we’ve lost, and more importantly to show their families how much they mean to us, I feel, is a responsibility not to be forgotten. Moreover, you know as well as I do that if your Chiefs, Butts, and even your JRPs can carve out at an hour ANYBODY CAN. It’s our duty, Ags.
On the one hand, I want to recognize that you did fulfill one part of your duty by attending Silver Taps on Tuesday. But you are far enough into this experience to have learned that your duty is greater. You know that the Stack made of acres of woods that you are cutting down now is the smallest fire that we are learning to build together. Our ultimate objective is one fire in countless hearts. As members of that worldwide community of motivated Aggies, that means we must learn how to follow. We have established that you know how to do that.
But we are also charged to lead. In the same way we march into the Woods with axes in hand and march out with trees on our backs to forge Bonfire, we need to lead everywhere to build the fire that Bonfire symbolizes. It is our duty to extend the invitation and convey the importance of this and every Tradition to those outside of our Crews. I expect that you will continue to make Silver Taps a priority. And more importantly, because you are capable of doing so I expect you to help others understand why you choose to make it a priority and lead the way.
Kyle Hughes ’19
P.S. DON’T LOCK YOUR KNEES!