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Bonfire Memorial - OU01D5

 Memorial to the fall of Bonfire and the 12 that lost their lives on November 18, 1999

Hidden by  NativTxn

N 30° 37.360' W 96° 20.112' (WGS84)

 Coordinates in Other Systems
 Location: United States > Texas
 Cache Type: Virtual
 Size: No container
 Status: Ready for Search
 Date Hidden: 13 December 2010
 Date Created: 13 December 2010
 Last Modified: 14 December 2010
 Waypoint: OU01D5


{{found}} 8 x Found
{{not_found}} 0 x Did Not Find
{{comment}} 0 Comments
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2906 Visitors
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Rated as: Excellent
GeoKrety History

Available Maps: Opencaching,Google Maps

Cache Attributes

Kid Friendly Wheelchair Access Historic Site Listed on OCNA Only 

Please see the attributes article for more information.

Description   EN   

To log this cache, the password is (in all lower case) the middle name/initial of the Aggie in the 2nd portal to the right of the entry walkway.

History of Bonfire

From its inception as a scrap heap to the more familiar and impressive stack of vertical logs, the Texas Aggie Bonfire symbolized every Aggie's "burning desire" to beat the University of Texas in football. Attracting between 30,000 and 70,000 people each year to watch it burn, Bonfire became a symbol of the deep and unique camaraderie that is the Aggie Spirit.

In preparation for the much-anticipated annual football game against "t.u.", as Aggies refer to their rival, the student-built Texas Aggie Bonfire would burn after Yell Practice. The lighting ceremony included the playing of "The Spirit of Aggieland" by the Fightin' Texas Aggie Band and the traditional reading of "The Last Corps Trip" poem. An outhouse, known as the "t.u. tea room" or "t.u. frat house" was built by sophomores in the Aggie band and sat atop the completed Bonfire. Aggie lore has it that if the Bonfire stood until after midnight, they would win the game.

Since the initial Bonfire in 1909, Texas A&M students have banded together each year to build and burn the Bonfire, and in the process helped it to evolve into the largest in the world. Bonfire burned each year through 1998, with the exception of 1963. That year Bonfire was built but torn down in a tribute to President John F. Kennedy who was assassinated on November 22, 1963. Texas A&M Head Yell Leader Mike Marlowe said, "It is the most we have and the least we can give."

In 1967, responsibility for Bonfire construction was transferred from the Yell Leaders to "Red Pots," students specifically chosen to plan and construct the stack. The safety helmets or "pots" worn by Bonfire construction workers were painted various colors to designate the hierarchy of responsibilities.

In 1955, Bonfire was moved from Simpson Drill Field in front of the Memorial Student Center to Duncan Field, behind the Corps of Cadets area, where it was held for 37 years. The 1992 Bonfire marked the first year Bonfire was built in its final home on the Polo Fields.

The second time in A&M’s history that Bonfire did not burn was almost exactly 92 years after the first Bonfire due to its collapse on November 18th, 1999 at 2:42 a.m.  The collapse killed 12 Aggies and injured 27 others. 


The interior of the Spirit Ring may be accessed through 12 portals, one for each Aggie lost in 1999. The outer, granite, portals stand 16 feet tall; and the interior, bronze, portals 12 feet. Each is on a line extending from the center of the ring to the hometown of the Aggie represented, and the bronze portal is engraved with three memorial elements - a portrait, his or her signature and a written reflection.

The 12 Aggies who lost their lives in the 1999 collapse were:

Congrats to DotsonFamily for the FTF!




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Log Entries    {{found}} 8x {{not_found}} 0x {{comment}} 0x     Show All Log Entries   New Log Entry

1 01 April 2013 Aardvark Found it

Awesome memorial!  Thanks.

1 04 November 2011 TommyGator Found it

We have been to many Aggie Bonfires over the years, and came to this hallowed ground just after the disaster.  The memorial here now is a great tribute to our fallen Ags.  Thanks for bringing us here again!

1 10 September 2011 AgNav Found it

What a way to end our day. This spot makes you appreciate what you have. TFTC.

1 26 February 2011 Manofsteel Found it

This was my first visit to the Memorial. Thanks for bringing us here.

1 14 February 2011 k3iv Found it

My office overlooks the Bonfire site, as it did in 1999.  I had not visited the memorial before now as the memory of viewing the toppled stack has been enough to keep the students who lost their lives in my thoughts.  Such a terrible tragedy.