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
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:
01 April 2013 Aardvark Found it
04 November 2011 TommyGator Found it
10 September 2011 AgNav Found it
26 February 2011 Manofsteel Found it
14 February 2011 k3iv Found it