Category Archives: texas a&m

August 15th

I made this post to my private Facebook page, but upon re-reading it I decided to share it here as well.

 

receiving my diploma photo by parents

August 15th is a date I’ll remember forever: its the day I graduated from Texas A&M University. It’s the day my name was called, I walked across the stage at Reed Arena (ironically with “Happy Hour” written across the top of my cap) to shake hands with Robert Gates, and I was handed a diploma declaring I’d received my BS in Journalism (or as I like to call it, my BS in BS.) It was an ending, but also a beginning. It was a turning point in my life, and so much of what I do today is because of my days at TAMU. I’m passionate about my university, and I tell people very proudly that I’m not just a fan — I’m alumni. And for that reason, I’ve gotten to meet so many amazing people though the Middle Tennessee Texas A&M Club, and it brought the fantastic people of the Nashville ACC SEC Leadership Council and CASA Nashville into my life. I’m thankful for my collegiate years and how they set me up to be the person I am today. They continue to open doors for me, and I am certain that they will for years to come.IMG_0665

Aggie Muster 2014

I. Love. Aggie. Muster. Even more, I love telling people about Muster and why it, in my opinion, sets my university head and shoulders above the rest. Forget football. Forget national championships. Forget all the research and medical advances being done. Remember the PEOPLE. Remember the SPIRIT.

Middle Tennessee Aggie Muster attendees
Middle Tennessee Aggie Muster attendees

Aggie Muster lands every April 21st. It’s a day in which Aggies gather all around the world — including on military bases during times of war — to visit with each other, remember our times at A&M, and at the pinnacle of the event, call the roll of Aggies who have passed away over the last year. As the names are called, they are answered with a “Here” as their spirit is always present in our hearts.

From the Aggie Traditions website:

Still remembering and honoring the time spent in Aggieland, the tradition of mustering has grown in strength, meaning, and spirit. By 1929, meeting had grown worldwide, and in 1942 Aggie Muster gained international recognition. Twenty-five men, led by General George Moore ’08, mustered during the Japanese Siege of the Philippine island of Corregidor. Knowing that Muster might soon be called for them, these Aggies embodied the essence of commitment, dedication, and friendship- the Aggie Spirit. They risked their lives to honor their beliefs and values. That small group of Aggies on an outpost during World War II inspired what has developed into one of our greatest traditions.

Muster is celebrated in more than four-hundred places world wide, with the largest ceremony on the Texas A&M campus in College Station. The ceremony brings together more Aggies, worldwide, on one occasion than any other event.

Some day my name will be called and answered with a, “Here.”

If that’s not a staggering and humbling realization, then you just don’t GET it.

Calling the roll, Adam Beloney '03 & Greg Dew '80
Calling the roll, Adam Beloney ’03 & Greg Dew ’80

We have a saying at Texas A&M, “Once an Aggie, always an Aggie.” Aggie Muster really embodies that fact, as we pause to remember and reflect on this bond we share with other Aggies. It’s not just a diploma on the wall. It’s not just wearing something maroon and white. It’s not even our beloved Aggie Rings. It’s something so much more. It’s much deeper. Its respect. Dare I say, its about love of your fellow man. As the roll was called and Silver Taps was played, I looked around the room to see many tears being shed. Its overwhelming.

My turn to speak.
My turn to speak.

I’ve organized Muster for middle Tennessee since 2008. I do it because I love it that much. I stress and stress and stress over it, because I want it to be perfect. I can’t relax until we are done, because I feel like if something goes wrong its my fault. I want the spirits of those names we call and their families to know we love and respect them enough to give them a proper “send off.” Logically, I know that no one would hold it against me if something fell through, but in my heart I want it to go perfectly.

One of the biggest things is the guest speaker for each Muster. This year, we had Mike Flynt. His story inspired me when I heard it the first time, and I hope it inspired everyone else at Muster last night.

Mike Flynt
Mike Flynt

How can you not be inspired by a man who went back to college at the age of 59 to play his senior year of football? And who also has such a strong faith and belief in God? I’m still on a high from last night.

So forgive me if I happen to think my university is a little better than the rest. Forgive me if I get fighting mad when people “put down” Texas A&M based strictly on football. Because its so much more. Its so much deeper.

From the outside looking in, you can’t understand it. And from the inside looking out, you can’t explain it.

Gig’em and God Bless.

Being an Aggie on the Anniversary of Bonfire

People give me a hard time now and then about being an Aggie, and its always in reference to football. Now, I’m fine with light-hearted ribbing from friends about football, but when anyone makes a dig about Texas A&M and Aggies in general, I bristle. Quickly. Because there is so very much more to being an Aggie than the football team.

On November 18, 1999, the world’s eyes turned to Texas A&M and for a moment… just a moment… the world got a glimpse of the Spirit of Aggieland. And they might not have understood, but they cared…

Bonfire Memorial

Instead of recounting anything from my point of view on Bonfire’s collapse that day and how I felt then and how I feel today about it, I want to share this blog post from an Aggie, written in 2009.

Before you click that, though, I want to highlight two parts of that post:

From the letter sent to A&M from the University of Texas Student Body VP following the tragedy… For all us Longhorns discount A&M in our neverending rivalry, we need to realize one thing. Aggieland is a special place, with special people. It is infinitely better equipped than us at dealing with a tragedy such as this for one simple reason. It is a family. It is a family that cares for its own, a family that reaches out, a family that is unified in the face of adversity; a family that moved this Longhorn to tears.

Aggies are a family. And that’s why it upsets me when I hear people slamming Johnny Manziel. I’ve never met him. I probably never will. But I don’t care. He’s an Aggie. And in that, he’s family that I find myself defending time and time again.  Now keep in mind, like family, we’ll be the first to chastise a member. Case in point, when Von Miller had his legal woes this year, I felt deeply disappointed, and I watched on Twitter as Aggie after Aggie voiced similar disappointment and frustration. Some declaring they would no longer consider themselves a fan of his. We might be the first to defend, but we are also some of the first to shake our fingers at our fellow Aggies when they do wrong.

It’s also why our hearts break and you’ll see us all cry when we lose an Aggie family member… even one we don’t know personally. Bonfire was particularly devastating. It happened on campus. It was/is a cherished school tradition. These were 12 young lives cut short, and many more left injured. Our hearts broke collectively.

But in every time of trial and heartache, we pull together and are reminded we’re family. And that… THAT… is something so special it can’t be accurately described in words.

The second part I want to highlight: …the Longhorn band’s tribute was one of the classiest and moving tributes I have seen. Maybe their response to our tragedy is the reason that, even though they are our rivals, I still have such respect for the school as a whole…

284831_10101048997247984_5944984_n

Alumni get it. I, too, have a deep down respect for the University of Texas and its alumni members. There are your bad seeds, sure. There are at Texas A&M, too. (Hey, every family has its members you go, “Yeah we don’t talk about him much…” LOL!) But on a whole, you’ll find major respect between alumni members of the two schools. I recently had a lighthearted and delightful banter with a Longhorn at work that left me with a spring in my step.

In fact, you’ll find respect between members of alumni of MOST major universities. I’ve encountered the same respect working with alumni of SEC and ACC schools.

T-shirt fans, though… those are the ones that will throw out the asinine comments I refer to in my opening of this blog post. My most recent bristle being, “So how do you wear that [Texas A&M] ball cap without getting smacked!?”

Really?

I wear it with pride for SO MANY reasons… reasons that are deep in my heart. Reasons the person asking that question could never in a million years understand… not that they’d ever care to really listen in the first place. And those reasons are the ones that are why at 2:42 am on November 18th, I stop and take a moment to remember.  Those reasons are why I put my heart of soul into Aggie Muster every year. Those are the reasons why I wear my Aggie ring with pride every single day, and why I make sure to speak to Aggies when I cross paths with them.

Roll your eyes if you want. I don’t care. But I am an Aggie and I’m proud of that fact. Now go read that blog post and hear about what makes this day stand out every November from yet another Aggie.