I recently had the honor and privilege of attending a sacred ceremony on the Texas A&M University campus. I was in Texas to welcome a new grandson and visit with family. My son is an Aggie and asked if I would like to attend Silver Taps with him. With a minimum description of what it was, we set out for campus.
Walking from the parking garage to the plaza at the Academic Building, the hush settled over us. I was slightly surprised to notice that all the street lights were out, there were no building lights showing, and the numerous people heading the same way we were going were doing so in silence.
We stood silently among a crowd whose number I could not estimate in the darkness. A bell began to toll hymns. Then I heard cadence. Into the surrounding area marched hundreds of cadets, dressed in full uniform, in complete silence. They lined up in formation and stood at ease.
The next sound I heard was a slow cadence march. Through the dim lighting I could make out the white uniforms of the honor guard marching into the center of the Plaza. Even though I knew there was going to be a gun salute fired, I jumped at the first volley. Two more followed. Then, the familiar, yet different, music of Silver Taps wafted over our heads, again played 3 times. At the conclusion, the honor guard slow-marched out of the square and the cadet corps marched away in silence.
As the crowd dispersed, I could see the number attending was much larger than I had thought. What a sacred, beautiful memorial for those Aggies, past and present, who have died within the last month. I walked slowly back to the parking garage with my son, in silence. There were no words to express the awe I felt at a university’s time-honored tradition.
To learn more about this solemn event, held the second Tuesday of each month, September through April, go to these sites: https://www.tamu.edu/traditions/remembrance/silver-taps/, http://studentlife.tamu.edu/sas.silvertaps, or listen to the unique sound of Silver Taps here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZmKe9f1LnxQ.
Friends of Hospice will hold a Trees of Light and Remembrance Ceremony at Bishop Place in Pullman on December 5, 2017, starting at 5:30 pm in the Social Room, 815 SE Klemgard Street. A second ceremony will be held on December 6, 2017, beginning at 5:30 pm at the Whitman County Library in Colfax, 102 S. Main Street. Please join us at either, or both, of these remembrance ceremonies. Learn more here: http://friendsofhospice.net/annual-tree-of-life/.
We will remember.