April 21, 2016 marked my first Muster as a Former Student, and while the experience was definitely different than the previous four years in Aggieland, it was no less profound.
For Aggies, Muster is the most tangible experience of the Aggie Spirit. It’s a time to honor our fellow classmates and loved ones who have recently passed away, lighting a candle and proclaiming, “Here” during roll call. Watching a stadium somberly answer to the list of deceased is magnificent to say the least; it is awe-inspiring and poignant and powerful. Based on my undergraduate Muster experiences, San Jacinto Day’s ritual is the embodiment of Aggie grandeur: a tradition that is fulfilled in the most epic of reverence.
But there’s another reason why we Aggies Muster: to honor the dead, yes, but also to celebrate the living. The March 1923 Texas Aggie is often quoted: “If there is an A&M man in one hundred miles of you, you are expected to get together, eat a little, and live over the days you spent at the A&M College of Texas.”
Camaraderie has always been emphasized when describing Muster, but as a student, you live that every day. There is no need to track down an Aggie 100 miles away because there are probably ten less than 100 feet from you.
Now I moved to Houston, a measly hour and a half outside of College Station, so it’s not like I struggle to find other Aggies. But it’s not quite as easy to reminisce as it once was. I’m still very close to my friends from school, but we have new lives consumed with jobs and relationships and travel and all sorts of other “adult” things. We’ve moved on from our beloved Texas A&M, it still being a major part of our lives, but no longer being our whole lives.
To jump back into that mindset — of MSC programs and Fightin’ Texas Aggie Football and Fish Camp and late nights in the library and going to the Chicken after Midnight Yell and so many other shared memories — that’s not something you get to do everyday, much less with thousands of fellow Aggies who have similar experiences. Tonight I did just that, with old and new friends alike. It’s a real blessing to remember where you came from, and thank those who came before you by declaring unanimously that you stand for them.
“May good fortune smile upon us until we meet again.”