By far, one of Texas A&M's most honored traditions is Silver Taps. Silver Taps is held for a graduate or undergraduate student who passes away while enrolled at A&M. This final tribute is held the first Tuesday of the month when a student has passed away the previous month.
The first Silver Taps was held in 1898 and honored Lawrence Sullivan Ross, the former governor of Texas and president of A&M College. Silver Taps is currently held in the Academic Plaza. On the day of Silver Taps, a small card with the deceased students name, class, major, and date of birth is placed as a notice at the base of the academic flagpole, in addition to the memorial located behind the flagpole. Around 10:15 that night, the lights are extinguished and hymns chime from Albritton Tower. Students silently gather at the statue of Lawrence Sullivan Ross. At 10:30pm, the Ross Volunteer Firing Squad marches into the plaza and fire a twenty-one gun salute. Buglers then play a special rendition of Silver Taps by Colonel Richard Dunn. Taps is played three times from the dome of the Academic Building: once to the north, south, and west. It is not played to the east because the sun will never rise on that Aggie again. After the buglers play, the students silently return to their homes. Silver Taps is a sacred tradition that Aggies hold dear.
I didn't know the two guys being honored, but I looked them up on facebook. Their walls are full of "i miss you"s and "I know you're looking down on us now"s. I guess John's death has made me extra-sensitive to the whole issue right now, because seeing their facebook profiles made me get all choked up. Usually, when I hear about someone's death, even if I knew them personally, my first thought isn't "I'll miss them," but "I can't imagine pain their family and friends are going through." At John's services, I cried because I was mad that I didn't have more time to get to know John, but also because I saw the pain that Reed was going through and I so badly wanted to make him feel better. Seeing him cry absolutely broke my heart.
More on this later, maybe. Class is about to start.