Before and after. Then and now.
There are a handful of events in our lives that are so significant that our perspectives forever change because of them. In the history of Texas A&M, two of these examples are when women were officially admitted, and when Aggie Bonfire collapsed.
It’s been 15 years since the latter — a tragedy that took the lives of 12 Aggies and injured 27, caught the attention of the world, and signaled the end of a campus tradition that dated back nearly a century.
Among the must-see destinations on the A&M campus is the magnificent, yet sobering, memorial to the victims of the collapse — located on the exact site where the logs fell during the early morning hours of Nov. 18, 1999. If you haven’t visited the Bonfire Memorial, I urge you to go — it’s a powerful experience, even if you have no ties to the university.
But did you know there’s another set of memorials in College Station dedicated to the memory of Bonfire collapse victims? Neither did I until just a few years ago.
Tucked alongside Dexter Street in the Southside Historic District, just a few blocks from the A&M campus, is nine-acre Fred Brison Park — a neighborhood oasis that might be the most beautiful and serene green spot in the entire College Station parks system.
Located mostly around the perimeter of the park are lamp posts and special markers dedicated to each of the 12 Bonfire victims — a remembrance project announced by the City of College Station a year after the tragedy. If you take the time to check all of them — each bears a name, class year and hometown — as well as the centerpiece memorial plaque, then you will have strolled around and through the entire park.
I routinely seek out Brison Park when I need to clear my head, to escape phone calls and office visits for a few minutes, and to enjoy lunch while sitting beneath the giant oaks. Whether it’s on Nov. 18, or simply the next beautiful day, I hope you’ll consider discovering the other Bonfire memorials located in one of College Station’s finest parks.
In memory of:
- Miranda Denise Adams ‘02
- Christopher D. Breen ‘96
- Michael Stephen Ebanks ‘03
- Jeremy Richard Frampton ‘99
- Jamie Lynn Hand ‘03
- Christopher Lee Heard ‘03
- Timothy Doran Kerlee, Jr ‘03
- Lucas John Kimmel ‘03
- Bryan A. McClain ‘02
- Chad A. Powell ‘03
- Jerry Don Self ‘01
- Nathan Scott West ‘02
About the Author
Jay Socol is in his sixth year as College Station’s public communications director. A 1991 graduate of Texas A&M, Socol has also been communications director for the Texas Engineering Extension Service, public information officer for the City of Bryan, and news director at several B-CS radio stations.