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The custom began in Chile: there, at Army musters, a chosen soldier answers “here!” to the name of O’Higgins.* a brave & bygone hero of the republic. That seemed like a good idea to Texas A & M— which furnished more Army officers in World Wars I and II than did West Point.

Two weeks before Corregidor fell, 25 Aggies (led by Major General George Moore, ’08) met on the Rock and answered “here” for their dead classmates. Three years later, on 1945-8 Muster Day, the survivors gathered on Corregidor with Japanese snipers still about; of the original 25, ten were dead, three missing. The living spoke up for their absent comrades, reported all present. Other musters were held in Africa and Europe.

Twenty thousand Aggies served in World War II, and 14,000 of them got commissions (among them: 29 generals)! Six won Congressional Medals of Honor, four of them posthumous. The Aggies had always been like that: in 1917, the entire senior class volunteered in a body.

Last week, on San Jacinto Day (the anniversary of Texas’ independence), Aggies the world over held their first postwar muster. Wherever two or more met, they called the names of classmates who had died. But on the Texas A & M campus itself, where 10,000 mustered, the dead were so many (696 in World War II) that the list was abridged. The names of the four dead Medal of Honor winners were called. In strained, choked voices, four Aggies answered, “Here!”

*Bernardo O’Higgins, son of an Irish father and a Chilean mother, and first president of Chile, who died in 1842.

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