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What KPRC 2 viewers remember about Texas A&M bonfire 20 years later

1999: In College Station, Texas, 12 are killed and 27 injured at Texas A&M University when the 59-foot-tall Aggie Bonfire, under construction for the annual football game against the University of Texas, collapses in the early morning hours. The accident led Texas A&M to declare a discontinuance of the official bonfire, which had been a tradition for 90 years. However, a non-university sanctioned student bonfire has taken its place since 2002. (U.S. Department of Homeland Security via Wikimedia Commons)

HOUSTON – The 20th anniversary of the Texas A&M bonfire collapse is on November 18. Twelve people died and 27 others were injured in the tragedy.

KPRC 2 viewers have shared their memories of that event. Some people have said they remember worrying about their children or learning the loss of a former classmate. Here are some of the most poignant responses we received.

Jennifer Bynum Eyring:

"Losing a childhood friend. I can remember everything about that day. It was my junior year, I was on bonfire my freshman & sophomore years, made tons of great friends and memories. We got the call early that morning and spent the day trying to track down all of our bonfire sisters and brothers. We literally made a call list and went down one by one checking on friends, praying they would pick up the phone. One of the last pulled out was my childhood friend Miranda Adams. Time stood still. People didn't carry cellphones at that time. It was hard to know if your friends were out there or not."

Kay Carlisle:

"I remember trying to contact our youngest son who had said he was going to be a part of it. Took several hours to track him down and was so relieved to hear his voice but so sad for the other parents who lost their sons/daughters."

Tracy Olds: 

"I remember tracking down my daughter and her friends that morning. Praying and praying. Then organizing Aggie moms for whatever was needed."

Jennifer Bynum Eyring to Tracy Olds:

"I was talking with my mom about this just last week. I was a junior, and she woke up and saw the news and knew I was involved with bonfire. I know the day was hard on us students, but now that I am a parent, I can't imagine the fear she had and you had trying to find your child."

Cee A'mara:

"I was about 7 and in my home country...little did I know I will become a student at Texas A&M. It was really sad watching the news about that time."

Amanda Henry: 

"I remember telling my mom to go wake up my dad and check with my godparents as their oldest son was in the band at the time and since they helped build the bonfire I was worried he was there. Thankfully he was not, he was supposed to have been but traded with someone because he had studying to do."

Carol Peel Easley: 

"I remember waking up and seeing it on TV. I knew my son who was a freshman had worked on the stack the night before. He was on the stack and replaced by the ones who were hurt and killed. It was really a hard time for my son and our family."

Robin Munch: 

"A high school friend of mine died in it. Nathan West."

Katie Yamada: 

"I remember visiting Texas A&M after it happened. I remember driving by the campus with a friend, and seeing the logs still there."

Bonnie Young Heallen: 

"Devastation and heartache on campus. People leaving their Aggie rings in memory of those who were lost. I remember all the signs, candles and mementos left. I remember the Aggie football team helping to move the logs. How profound it was...and logical. I also remember fiercely being in support for never having another bonfire on or off campus in honor of the 12 that died."

What do you remember most about that time? Let us know in the comments.

 

 


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