Silver Taps Continues to Honor Aggies in Final Tribute
In one of the university's oldest traditions, deceased Aggies are honored in a solemn ceremony
By Veronica Gonzalez Hoff
Texas A&M University’s Silver Taps continues to honor Aggies in a final tribute following a student's death. The tradition has gone through various evolutions since its inception, but it remains an integral part of the Aggie spirit. To learn how the tradition has been preserved over the last century, read “The History of Silver Taps,” an in-depth article published in the January-February 2022 issue of Texas Aggie Magazine.
The memorial is held on the first Tuesday of each month September through April, if necessary, for any current professional, graduate or undergraduate student who has died during the year. Silver Taps is hosted by Traditions Council, a committee of students on the Executive Branch of the Student Government Association, in partnership with Student Assistance Services, which is part of the Department of Student Life. The Battalion student newspaper publishes individual stories honoring each student leading up to each Silver Taps.
This semester, Silver Taps was held on Sept. 6 in honor of eight Aggies who recently passed away. The next Silver Taps will be held Nov. 1 at 10:30 p.m. to honor two Aggies.
Students honored on Sept. 6 were:
- Blake Douglas Barnes, a sophomore international studies major from Prosper, Texas, who died May 23.
- Harrison Miller Fuller, a senior civil engineering major from Studio City, Calif., who died April 7.
- Benjamin David Hamilton Jr., a junior mathematics major from Olive Branch, Miss., who died May 20.
- Tyler Wade Ryan, a senior nuclear engineering major from Rockwall, Texas, who died May 14.
- Victoria Christine Solarek, a junior zoology major from Port Aransas, Texas, who died July 24.
- Eric Tuck-Otero, a graduate visualization major from San Antonio, Texas, who died July 12.
- Audrey Arballo Valim, a senior allied health major from Round Rock, Texas, who died April 19.
- Ivan Zabrodin, a junior electrical engineering major from Houston, Texas, who died April 8.
Students honored on Nov. 1 will be:
- Andrew Paul Coleman, a sophomore aerospace engineering major from Erie, Pa., who died Oct. 4.
- Meghana Devi Kodali, a senior neuroscience major from Bellaire, Texas, who died Sept. 25.
The Silver Taps ceremony is held in person at the Academic Plaza. To honor the memory of these students, the campus is darkened at 10:20 p.m. Students, family and friends gather in the plaza in front of the Academic Building in silence. At 10:30 p.m., an honor guard from the Ross Volunteer Company marches to the plaza where its members fire three rifle volleys to honor the memory of these students.
Since 2000, Traditions Council has collected letters from students for the families of the fallen. For those who would like to write letters to families of the fallen, there are several locations on campus to drop off letters. Memorial boxes are located in Academic Plaza and on the tables in the MSC 12th Man hall, Rudder Plaza, the Quad, and through the online letter option at tx.ag/TapsLetters.
For those who cannot attend in person, the Division of Student Affairs broadcasts a special premiere of Silver Taps on its YouTube channel at 10:30 p.m. simultaneously with the live event. This began in 2020 due to coronavirus restrictions on gathering and now continues to allow families, friends and Aggies unable to attend in person to stand with families of the fallen in spirit. The video is a recreation of elements of the Silver Taps ceremony and does not involve filming the actual event. You can visit tx.ag/SilverTapsPremiere for the virtual Silver Taps experience.
To learn more, visit the Traditions Council and Student Assistance Services websites. Explore how you can support this time honored tradition by contacting Reagan Chessher ‘96, senior director of development, at email@example.com or call 979-862-1247.