Roll Call for the Absent

No matter where Aggies are, whether it is as few as two or as many as the thousands who gather on Texas A&M’s main campus in College Station, they come together each year on Muster day. Ceremonies are often held by Aggie Clubs or other groups, and each event is unique, reflecting the personalities of the communities. From casual barbecues to formal events in hotel ballrooms, Musters are as diverse as Aggies themselves.

Regardless of formality, at each Muster, Aggies remember those lost in the local area, support the loved ones left behind and share memories from their time at Texas A&M. At the beginning of a Muster ceremony, a speaker addresses the crowd to reflect on the importance of the Aggie Family. Then, the “Roll Call for the Absent” is read, naming local fallen Aggies. As each name is called, family members or friends present for that Aggie reply, “Here,” and a candle is lit in their memory.

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History of Muster

The inspiration for Muster's official date can be traced back to San Jacinto Day, a Texas holiday that celebrates the state’s defeat of the Mexican Army in the Battle of San Jacinto. In 1899, the Corps of Cadets decided to host their own celebrations on Texas A&M's campus and held a San Jacinto Field Day on April 21.

During the world wars, this tradition of meeting on April 21 evolved to include a memorial for those who were absent. In World War I, Aggies met all over the trenches of Europe and at Army posts throughout the U.S.

The most famous Aggie Muster was held during World War II in 1942 on the small island of Corregidor in the Philippines. Major Gen. George Moore, Class of 1908, led a group of recently commissioned Aggies in a tribute to honor the valiant Aggies who had died, hold a yell practice and sing "The Aggie War Hymn" with all their strength, all under heavy enemy fire.

A view of the muster candles from the stands of Reed Arena

Following the Muster ceremony in Reed Arena on campus — the largest Muster in the world — a rifle volley is fired and a special arrangement of “Taps” is played.

Credit: Texas A&M University

Muster on Campus

Like other Muster ceremonies, the campus event honors current and former students in the local community. It lasts all day, starting with a flag-raising ceremony at sunrise. The 50-year reunion class is invited back to campus for a Camaraderie Barbecue, where they tell old Aggie “war stories,” and current students share their Aggie experiences.

Following the ceremony in Reed Arena — the largest Muster in the world — a rifle volley is fired and a special arrangement of “Taps” is played.

Learn more about Muster

More Texas A&M Traditions

Explore more of the traditions that unite our current and former students, build camaraderie and foster the Aggie Spirit.