Life as a falconer, insect systematist, and double Masters Student (or a look into the mind of someone who is questionably sane).

18 November 2011


Today was a solemn day in Aggieland- 12 years ago today 12 Aggies were killed when our Bonfire collapsed.  A&M had been building and burning a bonfire in preparation for our big rivalry game with t.u. (university of texas for the uninformed) since the early 1900's.  Aggies are very tradition minded folks and a number of traditions were built into Bonfire.  Maybe one day Bonfire will be back on campus, but with our move to the SEC and t.u.s decision to not continue our rivalry as a non-conference game I guess it wouldn't be the same anyway.

As life goes on, today was also Ring Day.  If there was a field guide to identifying alma matars the key character would be the Aggie Ring.  Incoming students are told stories at orientation about people seeing THE RING while in some obscure part of the globe and having an instant friend.  I've run into ringed individuals myself and it's always a great feeling.  Ordering (and then later receiving your Aggie Ring) is something Aggies look forward to for years.  My friends who attended other, lesser, institutions are intrigued by this.  They think of it like a high school ring- something that's personalized to celebrate your awesomeness and individuality.  Aggie Rings however are all virtually identical.  There are 4 choices- male or female, gold or white gold; antiqued or natural, diamond or not.  The design is identical- the only difference between my ring and one made in 1894 (the first year aggie rings were not designed for each corps company) is the class year and the change in school name from "A&M Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas" to "Texas A&M University".  As a side note when Bonfire fell a number of seniors left their Rings at the memorial for the victims who had not yet received their own.
My sister and I on her Ring Day
Upperclassmen who have taken enough credit hours order there rings then receive them on one of four ring days.  My ring day was a bit different then most.  Hurricane Rita was forecast to hit the Houston area on Friday, and instead of heading to Wisconsin for the Wildlife Society my roommate Annaliese and I were not allowed to leave College Station.  On the bright side it meant we got to pick up our rings on Ring Day.  Rather than a huge event with much fanfare however we just ran in and picked them up as so many people had gone home to escape the potential hurricane.  Friday classes were canceled and the football game against Texas State was moved up to Thursday night.  As we hadn't been planning on being in CS for the game neither of us had pulled tickets so pulled pretty late.  We ended up on first deck (the only level of Kyle Field with actual wood seats and when you stand on them they rock back and fort).  I realized later there weren't many Aggies who had gotten their rings and gotten to watch A&M BTHO a football team on the same day.  Rings are worn with the date facing the owner until Ring Dance (shortly before graduation).  At this point they are flipped- signifying the wearer is ready to face the world.

While we reflect on the past and those Aggies lost on this day 12 years ago, we also must enjoy the present and look forward to the future.  Having a Ring Day on the same day Bonfire fell seems like a perfect way.

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