“Softly call the Muster, let comrade answer ‘Here’…”
Each year on April 21st, Aggies continue Texas A&M’s most solemn tradition of Aggie Muster all over the world. Muster is a traditional ceremony of Texas A&M which started over a century ago to remember Aggies who passed away since the last gathering through the Roll Call of the Absent. The tradition of Muster states if there are Aggies within 100 miles of each other, they should gather, share a meal and remember their days at A&M on April 21st of each year.
The Langford located in College Station, TX, having many Aggies amongst its resident and employee population held their first community Aggie Muster three years ago and have held it annually since that time. Langford resident Harold Klinksiek, Class of ’57 began organizing the community Muster soon after moving to The Langford. Klinksiek, a former member of the Texas A&M Corp of Cadets knew it was important to bring Muster to the community, “we have many Aggies that live here and we have families of Aggies that live here, too. Hosting a Muster brings us all together as one big family in our own home.” Klinksiek has brought in keynote speakers each year. This year, David Boggan ‘79 Senior Director of Development for the Texas A&M Foundation serving the Texas A&M School of Medicine was the guest speaker. He shared with those in attendance about how Texas A&M is growing and developing in the areas of rural medicine.
During the Muster ceremony, a “Roll Call of the Absent” is held which is a reading of the names from those in the community, friends and family that have passed away in the last year. As each name is called, a friend or family member will answer, “here,” in honor of that loved one. Katy Garcia, Langford Life Enrichment Director, explains, “This was my first attendance at an Aggie Muster. It was simply beautiful is the only way it can be described. So meaningful for everyone in attendance, Aggie or not.” Fifteen Langford residents, friends and family of Langford residents were honored this year. “The Spirit of Aggieland was so overwhelming during the ceremony. Some of the names are well known and other names only known to their friends or family. Yet, every life is remembered and honored. It’s hard not to be overwhelmed with emotion during this solemn, important ceremony,” explained Stacey Nehring, Texas A&M Class of ‘99, Executive Director of The Langford.
Muster is a time to look at the past but also ahead to the future. Not only to grieve those we have lost but also, we reflect and celebrate their lives. Something so simple in nature by coming together and softly answering ‘Here’ yet so lasting in spirit. “No matter who you are, no matter how much you participated, no matter what you did at Texas A&M, you are going to be remembered on April 21,” expressed Klinksiek.