10 year A&M bonfire tragedy anniversary, East Texan remembered

By LaKecia Shockley - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

HENDERSON, TX (KLTV) - This week marks the 10-year anniversary of Texas A&M's deadly bonfire that took the lives of 12 Aggies. Henderson native, Jamie Hand was one of those victims killed in the 1999 collapse of the bonfire.

For Larry and Neva Hand, Jamie's pictures are reminders of her precious life.

"It really is," said Neva Hand. "That's all we have left is our memories."

It's those memories that keep the Hand's going, knowing, their daughter lived life to the fullest.

"She'd be the last one to brag and she had a lot of accomplishments," said Larry Hand.

"A lot of things to be proud of but you'd never know it," said Neva Hand. "Just to walk with her. She was just a sweet kid."

Jamie was gearing up for her first college bonfire, when the tragedy struck.

"The ones who were in charge were the students, and because they had been in charge for 90 years then it must be OK because it's tradition," said Neva Hand.

It is a Texas A&M tradition that has had talks of being brought back - something the hands are not sure about.

"Unless you could 100-percent guarantee that something like that would not happen again, then there's just no way that they should allow it to be on campus," said Neva Hand.

Since the collapse students have held the bonfire off campus but the for them, it does not change what happened to their daughter and her 11 classmates.

"I think it's sad that the on campus bonfire died 10 years ago, but just like we can't bring our children back, I don't think you can bring bonfire back to campus," said Neva Hand.

The Hands will travel to Texas A&M this week for the 10-year bonfire remembrance ceremony. They will also award a student a scholarship in Jamie's name and at 2:42 a.m. on November 18th that will hold a candlelight vigil in honor of the 12 students who were killed.

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