Silver Taps is one of the most sacred and significant traditions at A&M. It is one of the final tributes held for any current graduate or undergraduate student who has passed during the year.
Silver Taps is held the first Tuesday of the month following a student’s death. Starting in the morning, the flags on campus are flown at half-mast. The names, class and major of the fallen Aggies are on cards placed at the base of the flagpole in the Academic Plaza and on the Silver Taps Memorial. Throughout the day, students can write letters to the families of the fallen Aggies. That night at 10:15p.m., all the lights on campus are extinguished. Hymns are then played on the Albritton Bell Tower, always including How Great Thou Art and ending in Amazing Grace. Around this time, students gather silently in the Academic Plaza. The families of the fallen Aggies are also led into the plaza. At 10:30p.m., the Ross Volunteer Company marches into the Academic Plaza at a slow cadence. Once they arrive, they fire a three-volley salute in honor of the fallen Aggies. After the last round is fired, buglers atop the Academic Building begin to play a special rendition of “Taps” called “Silver Taps,” which is unique to A&M. The buglers play “Taps” three times: once to the north, once to the south, and once to the west, but never to the east, because it said the sun will never rise on that fallen Aggie again.
This solemn tradition was held for the first time in 1898 in honor of Lawrence Sullivan Ross, former state of Texas governor and president of the college. No other university in the world honors students in this way.