The Muster Tradition
Century-old roots provide the basis for Muster as Aggies know it today. It has changed, yet the Spirit in which it was established remains the same. Since the founding of Texas A&M, every Aggie has lived and become a part of the Aggie Spirit. What we feel today is not just the camaraderie of fellow Aggies, it is the Spirit of hundreds of thousands of Aggies who have gone before us, and who will come after us. Muster is how that Spirit is remembered and celebrated, and it will always continue to unite Texas A&M and the Aggie family. A&M may change, but the Spirit never will.
April 21 has been a special day for Aggies since the very earliest years of Texas A&M. In the 1870s and 1880s, campus field days were held on the anniversary of the battle of San Jacinto, marking Texas’ independence. By the 1890s, it was an official college holiday.
Meanwhile, A&M’s earliest alumni organizations were starting a tradition of reading aloud a list of names at their annual June meetings to honor their fellow former students who had passed on in the preceding year.
During World War I, Aggies gathered on April 21 in the trenches and towns of France, Belgium and Luxembourg. In the early 1920s, The Association of Former Students encouraged all A&M Clubs to hold April 21st meetings and parties; these spread around the U.S. and elsewhere in the ’20s and ’30s.
Then, in 1942, a reported gathering of Texas Aggies under fire on April 21 made this Texas A&M tradition famous nationwide. News headlines spoke of the Texans’ courage and camaraderie during Japan’s siege of the Philippine island of Corregidor. The next year, more than 500 Aggie Musters worldwide honored the Aggies of Corregidor; The Association sent out the first “Muster packets” to chairs, and the Muster tradition became a permanent part of the Aggie Spirit.
Today, Muster is celebrated in more than 300 locations worldwide, with the largest ceremony taking place on the Texas A&M campus in College Station. The ceremony brings together more Aggies worldwide on one occasion than any other event.