From the first Aggie Bonfire erected in 1909, to the catastrophic collapse in 1999, the tradition that Bonfire signified was "the burning desire to beat the hell out of T.U.” (University of Texas). Bonfire still upholds that tradition, but the scars from 1999 are still felt by many Aggies worldwide. On the early morning of November 18, 1999, the forty-foot tower of timber plummeted over thirty-nine people, killing 12, and injuring 27 others. Because of this occurrence, many officials have decided to cut back the amount of student participation during the construction of bonfire. While there are many that deem this pronouncement will promote a safer Bonfire, there are those who protest against officials' decisions for fear that the "burning desire” may not ever be the same. .
One tradition that is branded into the minds of people who know about Texas A&M University, is the tradition of Bonfire. The tee-pee shaped stack of logs draws thousands of Aggies to commemorate the ignition of the logs. Since the misfortune of Bonfire 1999, there has been a debate on whether the tradition should be able to continue or not. "Texas A&M University president Ray Bowen said Friday that when the tradition does resume, in 2002 at the earliest, the bonfire will be far smaller and the construction more professionally run” 2001-Sept. 8, 2001 (http://espn.go.com/ncf/news/2000/0616/588238.html). Creating bonfire under a "more professionally run” basis would mean that major modifications would have to take place such as a professionally engineered design by engineers from major companies, in-depth safety classes participating students are required to attend, university oversight of the construction, and a reduced number of students to construct the mountain of timber. Along with these restrictions placed on the construction of Bonfire, the traditional lumbering of wood by students for Bonfire, better known as "Cut,” will be removed completely from the construction process.