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The Meaning of the Bonfire

Bonfire Class of 1992A.jpgAs the Class of 1992 headed towards its 25th reunion this past June, its invitations signalled the importance of the bonfire in the Class’ memory. As you can see in the photo on the right (click on it to enlarge), the ‘92 freshmen in all their glory built a great bonfire themselves — even though it appeared at the time that they were the worst class ever.

No engineers from Buildings and Grounds (as FO&M was called then) were needed.

Bonfire Photos Class of 1992.jpg

Addendum: Former Hanover Police Chief Nick Giaccone writes in:

Probably much to your dismay, I was really impressed with the Fire Chief’s well thought out response.

If I may, I want to give you some context into the birth and history of so-called traditions, and how we attempted to deal with their birth so they didn’t become traditions.

Touching the fire was something that developed since 1992. When it started to happen, we brainstormed if there should be a legal response. We just held our breath to see how the Court would react. To our surprise, the judge thought the behavior was ludicrous and dangerous and that there should be a penalty to thwart its behavior.

Quite some tradition. That said, I guess “traditions” have to start somewhere. I don’t recall what idiot upper class dreamt up this one. I guess that we’re not satisfied with “clothes-lining” the circling freshman. That behavior caused us to mingle the officers into the inner circle, ruining many a uniform jacket with burn holes.

It was the Texas A&M collapse [in 1999] that changed the shape of the bonfire, and also made changes in how College staff assisted in its construction. No longer would it be just freshman.

I also should mention that I ended up in the emergency room with a badly twisted ankle after being broadsided by a member of the worst class ever. The actual year escapes me.


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