Softly Call The Muster

Tyler Wigington is a student at Texas A&M University and an official API Student Blogger. Tyler is studying abroad with API this spring in Madrid, Spain.

At the end of April, I took a five-day break from Madrid and traveled north to London, England. I had been there before, but this time, I wanted to really explore the city and do my own thing, without the restrictions of a big tour group. I walked the Thames, saw Big Ben, spent an afternoon in the Tate Modern, rented a bike, saw two shows on the West End, and even ate a Chipotle burrito. However, while London sightseeing was exciting and interesting, it was not my favorite part of my trip.

Now, it is no secret to those who know me that I am in love with my school, Texas A&M University. It has countless traditions and arguably some of the best students and alumni in the world. One of our biggest traditions, Aggie Muster, is held on April 21st at Texas A&M and at alumni clubs all around the world. Thus, when I planned my trip to London, I made sure that I would be around for the London A&M Alumni Club Muster. To give you a better idea of what Aggie Muster means, here is a description.

Aggie Muster is a time-honored tradition at Texas A&M University which celebrates the camaraderie of the school while remembering the lives of Aggies who have died, specifically those in the past year. Although it has origins dating back to 1883, Muster officially began on April 21, 1922 as a day for remembrance of fellow Aggies. Muster ceremonies today take place in over 400 locations globally including Kabul, Afghanistan, and Baghdad, Iraq. The tradition holds that “if there is an A&M man in one hundred miles of you, you are expected to get together, eat a little, and live over the days you spent at the A&M College of Texas.” The largest muster ceremony occurs in Reed Arena, on the Texas A&M campus. The “Roll Call for the Absent” commemorates Aggies, former and current students, who died that year. Aggies light candles, and friends and families of Aggies who died that year answer “here” when the name of their loved one is “called”. Campus muster also serves as a 50th year class reunion for the corresponding graduating class.

Aggie Muster is my favorite A&M tradition due to its significance, and I really wanted to pay my tribute even if I was across the pond for the semester. So, on my last full day, I took the tube (the subway) to a little three-story house in South London for the London A&M Club’s Muster. The ceremony was hosted by two A&M alums that currently live and work in the great city of London. They were wonderful, opening their arms and home to over thirty Aggies (current and former students) for a delicious Mexican/Texas BBQ lunch and a nice backyard ceremony. I was absolutely blown away by the turnout since I had expected no more than ten people. However, Aggies turned up from all over the place, including England (obviously!), France, and even Saudi Arabia.

After we’d mingled and eaten some delicious food, we began the ceremony. Even though we were about 5000 miles away from Texas A&M, we sang our school song and lit candles to remember those that we had lost in the previous year. Even though I didn’t know any of the Aggies that had passed away, the ceremony was still emotional, knowing that one day, my name will be called. It was absolutely surreal to be celebrating Muster with thirty-something other Aggies in London, England. Aggie Muster truly embodies the spirit and brotherhood of my school.

Needless to say, I will never forget April 21st, 2012.

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