Two minutes past midnight, and everyone from the field to the upper decks suddenly knows it’s time to bend slightly and put hands upon knees to state a passage everyone also seems to know.
The five guys in the middle with the microphone have nothing to do with hamburgers; they’re “Yell Leaders” elected by the nation’s second-largest student body — three seniors, two juniors — with Texas A&M literature proclaiming it “not uncommon for more than twice as many students to vote for Yell Leader candidates than to vote in the Student Body President elections.” One minute past midnight, and the Head Yell Leader, Chris Wilder, has a microphone and a joke: “How can you tell you’re in a five-star hotel in Tennessee?
Like his four Yell Leader brethren, he’s a member of the 2,500-strong Corps of Cadets (on a campus going on 60,000-strong), and as a sophomore, he became the one student chosen to care for Reveille IX, the purebred American collie mascot.
It’s a constant reminder of the commitment the Aggies have to the country, to the university and to each other.” He can reel off the origins of the Reveille concept (1931) to the breed of the first Reveille (“fox terrier spitz mutt”) to how she got her name (went bonkers one morning during reveille).
At 12:23, another cannon boom, another five minutes off the end of life.