Henderson Family To Attend A&M Bonfire Memorial Dedication - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

11/17/04-Henderson

Henderson Family To Attend A&M Bonfire Memorial Dedication

Tomorrow will be five years, to the day, a Texas tradition turned tragic.

Larry and Neiva Hand of Henderson often visit the sight where the Texas A&M bonfire once stood. They go to remember the daughter. Jamie Hand was one of 12 aggies who died at the university's deadly bonfire collapse.

Tomorrow the Hand's will once again return to College Station for the dedication of a new memorial. "Jamie gave everything to everything she did. She didn't go into anything halfway. She wasn't a part of the way anything. She was 100% aggie," says Neiva.

Larry and Neiva have both seen the memorial at the university, but look forward to the dedication Thursday with the entire family. "It's built in a circle around bonfire perimeter, where bonfire stood. There is a portal for each individual student who was lost and that portal faces the student's own hometown," says Neiva.

"It'll help represent or show what those young people were about, what they were like, who they were, what their goals and perhaps where they were going," says Larry.

The memorial is part of this family's healing. The first year they lived in a state of shock. But with two other daughters also at A&M, that gave them a chance to be close to Jamie as well. "We would go and visit our other girls and then we'd say our goodbyes, but we didn't go right home. We went out to bonfire and walk around, and just look," says Larry.

For the Hand family, this memorial dedication means the memories of all the victims, will go on. "They told us that they would never forget. They built a memorial to prove they will never forget," says Neiva.

Even as the new memorial is being dedicated; off campus, the controversial tradition continues. A group of A&M students is currently building an unauthorized bonfire. It's a project the Hands believe should not continue. They say the off-campus bonfire is divisive, that many students disagree with continuing the tradition.

Amy Tatum, reporting. atatum@kltv.com

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