“Softly Call the Muster”

The Spirit of Aggieland

By Will Johnson

Messenger Reporter

GRAPELAND – There are a lot of things which make Texas A&M University special and unique. One of these is the university’s embrace of tradition.

The iconic Aggie ring is celebrating its 132nd year in existence in 2021. At an A&M football game, the entire student body stands for the entire game in readiness to take to the field of play if called upon. Silver Taps, Fish Camp, saying “howdy”, the Corps of Cadets – the list of traditions is long and distinguished.

Perhaps the most revered tradition in Texas A&M lore is the Ceremony of Muster. It is celebrated world-wide on April 21 of each year and commemorates all current and former A&M students who have passed away during the previous year. It also marks a celebration for 50-year class reunions. The Class of 1971 will celebrate its golden milestone this year.

Muster is celebrated in more than 300 locations worldwide, with the largest ceremony taking place on the Texas A&M campus in College Station.

This year, the Houston County A&M Club will hold its Muster Ceremony on Wednesday, April 21 at Frontier Camp, beginning at 6:30 pm.  

As far as the history of Muster, the early gatherings included field games and banquets for Aggies to reflect and celebrate their memories of Aggieland. It was not until 1922, however, that April 21 became the official day of events for all Aggies; thus, the annual tradition of Muster was born.

So, why April 21?

According to the Texas A&M Association of Former Students, “From the late 1870s through the 1890s, cadets celebrated San Jacinto Day (April 21) on campus, and it became a campus holiday. In the 1900s and 1910s, former students began using San Jacinto Day as a day to gather together off campus. This included gatherings during World War I by former students stationed in Europe. In 1922, The Association, A&M Clubs and A&M president William Bizzell all encouraged former student gatherings on April 21.”

The March 1923 Texas Aggie Magazine urged, “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.”

Muster is the lasting impression every Aggie leaves with us; it reminds us of the greatness that lies within these walls, of the loyalty we possess, of the connection that binds us, and of the idea that every Aggie has a place of importance – whether they are present in flesh or spirit – Author Unknown.

Will Johnson, Texas A&M Class of 1986, may be reached via e-mail at [email protected].

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