It is the time of year, once again, when Aggies all over the world come together to remember and honor fellow Aggies who have passed away in the previous year. This long-standing tradition of Texas A&M University allows former, current and future students to celebrate the lives of fallen Aggies and reminisce on memories, share stories and bond over their love for Aggieland.

As the roll of Aggies who have passed in the last year is called, a representative for each will answer “here,” and the Texas A&M Class of 1968, celebrating their 50th class reunion, will sit in rows of chairs on the floor of Reed Arena. Each candle will be lit, and those who lost loved ones may weep.

This is a special year for one of Texas A&M’s most beloved traditions. There is a strong possibility that there will be a special mention of Lt. Col. William A. Hamilton, Jr., from the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Class of 1940. Hamilton was the last Aggie survivor of 1942’s legendary “Muster on the Rock” at Corregidor in the Philippines. The tradition of Muster was made famous  at the renowned “Muster on the Rock,” where Aggie soldiers gathered during WWII to honor the Aggies they’d lost during the fighting.

Hamilton passed away at the age of 99 on January 4, 2018, and he will forever be one of the brave Aggies we remember for their unfailing loyalty to their country and their school. The history of Muster is a story nearly every Aggie holds in their heart, and it helps ensure that  we never forget Hamilton and his fellow Aggies who risked their lives for us all.

The Association of Former Students works hard each year to host the best possible Muster. This year, they will hold the first live reading of the entire 2018 Worldwide Roll Call of about 1,700 names. Information on where to watch the live stream is on The Association’s website.

The keynote address with be delivered by the second woman to ever be chosen to speak at Muster, Kathleen Gibson ’81. Gibson is the president and CEO of the Southwestern Medical Foundation, serves as a trustee of the Texas A&M Foundation and previously served as chair of The Association of Former Students board in 2014. She was named a Distinguished Alumnus of Texas A&M this year, which is known as the highest honor a former student can receive from Texas A&M.

The Muster Ceremony and Roll Call for the Absent takes place April 21 at 7 p.m. in Reed Arena. Parking is often difficult to find rear Reed Arena on this night, so consider arriving early, carpooling or parking elsewhere on campus. Take a look at the Association of Former Students website to find details on Muster-related events taking place throughout the week such as the “Camaraderie Barbecue” Friday, April 20, 12 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. and the “Reflections Display” that will be in the Memorial Student Center Flag Room throughout the week leading up to Muster.