Texas A&M marks 20 years since bonfire collapse killed 12

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) — More than 1,000 people attended a memorial Monday to honor the 12 people who died when a tower of logs collapsed at Texas A&M University 20 years ago.

The Eagle reports that the ceremony at the university’s Bonfire Memorial featured performances of “Spirit of Aggieland,” “Amazing Grace” and “The Aggie War Hymn.”

Eleven university students and one former student died on Nov. 18, 1999, when a 40-foot structure holding about 5,000 logs collapsed. Twenty-seven other students were injured.

The structure was to have been used for A&M’s traditional bonfire and “yell practice” on the eve of the Aggies’ annual football game against the University of Texas. Texas A&M ended the university-sanctioned bonfire ceremony after the disaster although students continued the tradition off campus.

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Janice Kerlee, the mother of a student who died, said those who died were “extraordinary young people” known for their smiles and love for people.

Texas A&M President Michael K. Young said he hopes Monday’s ceremony brings solace to the loved ones of those who died.