Aggie Bonfire tragedy anniversary nears, east Texas parents remember


HENDERSON (KYTX) - It's been nearly 14 years since a bonfire collapse at Texas A & M University killed 12 people. One of the victims from east Texas parents spoke said after so many years, they're thankful the school still honors the memory of those who lost their lives.

A day doesn't go by that Larry and Neva Hand don't think of their daughter Jamie Hand. 

"You don't ever get over it, but you get stronger and you're more capable of dealing with it," said Mrs. Hand.     

Jamie  was one of 12 killed after a bonfire stack collapse on November 18th 1999 at 2:42 a.m. on the campus of Texas A & M.

The scene was a dramatic one as emergency teams, parents and students waited around the collapsed pile of nearly 5,000 logs.

"I was holding out hope  that she was caught in some cavity...about five 30 that evening she was pulled from the stack." Later the Hands found out Jamie had died instantly.

With three other daughters, the Hands say the holiday season isn't the same.

However, something that is the same is the Aggie sense of family.

"There will be students there, every year there have been hundreds of students who gather," said Mrs. Hand.

Seeing new students remembering the 12 killed so many years later is a testament to the Aggie family bond.

During that same time, the Hands own family bond has grown.

"Our girls call us a lot and they never say goodbye without saying I love you," said Mr. Hand.

Texas A & M students will hold a memorial event at 2:42 Monday morning at the same spot and time where the collapse happened to remember the victims. The Hands said, they'll be there.


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