November 18, 1999
Let Us Never Forget
"I had the great privilege of attending the memorial service at A&M tonight and was deeply moved by the events I experienced. The A&M student body is truly one of the greatest treasures of our State. As part of the UT delegation, we sat on the floor of Reed Arena, and immediately following the end of the service, I heard this rustling sound behind me. I looked over my shoulder and saw the sight of 20,000 students spontaneously putting their arms on their neighbor's shoulders, forming a great circle around the arena. The mass stood there in pin-drop silence for close to five minutes, then, from somewhere, someone began to hum quietly the hymn 'Amazing Grace'. Within seconds, the whole arena was singing. I tried too--I choked, I cried. This event brought me to tears. It was one if not the defining moment of my college career. I learned something tonight. For all us Longhorns who discount A&M in our neverending rivalry, we need to realize one thing. Aggieland is a special place, with special people. It is infinitely better equipped than us at dealing with a tragedy such as this for one simple reason. It is a family. It is a family that cares for its own, a family that reaches out, a family that is unified in the face of adversity; a family that moved this Longhorn to tears. My heart, my prayers, and the heart of the UT student body go out tonight to Aggies and their family and friends as they recover from this great loss. Texas A&M, the Eyes of Texas are Upon You--and they look with sincere sympathy upon a family that has been through so much tragedy this semester."
--Eric Opiela, UT Student Body Vice President