April 21, 1946
It was Muster day in the Philippines once more. The boys who'd so quickly become men jumped in their jeeps, boarded boats and sailed the Pacific to stand at the mouth of the Malinta Tunnel.
With the war won and the Filipinos liberated from Japanese occupation in 1945, another duty remained. Muster again on the island of Corregidor, on "the Rock" where Aggies did the same in 1942 right through the Japanese Siege. Bunkered inside the Malinta Tunnel, most of those men of 1942 died or were taken prisoner when Corregidor fell to the Japanese.
They came from their respective posts in 1946 to Muster on Corregidor and honor those lives lost.
They used a bed sheet to improvise an Aggie flag and hung it over the Malinta Tunnel to stand at attention, all 128 of them, for The Spirit of Aggieland.
There's a photograph (above) of those men in front of their homemade flag. It's famous in Aggieland. When people think about the importance of Muster, for many they're reminded of that image, Holmes said. Their example reminds Aggies that Muster is more than an event, he said. "It's honoring those who have gone before us and made A&M what it is," he said.
During World War II, there were more officers from Texas A&M than from any other school and more than the combined total of the U.S. Naval Academy and U.S. Military Academy. "Aggies give so much for our country and represent our university so well. The fact that we've been given the opportunity to have a monument on Corregidor that represents our contributions to World War II and the Philippines is just great," Holmes said.
The idea for a monument first came from an Aggie in the Philippines, said Josh Reinbolt '99, director of former student programs at The Association and funding the project happened extremely quickly. "Everything that was needed was given by a few individuals and A&M Clubs," he said.
"Once an Aggie, always an Aggie," Reinbolt said. "We know that, because of Muster and because of the Aggie Spirit, you will always be remembered—you'll always have someone to say 'here' for you."