For Texas A&M Students, Rekindling the Flame Texas A&M students are counting the days until this fall's bonfire, a tradition alive and well despite a ban on the event imposed by the university after 12 Aggies died when the structure collapsed three years ago.

Current and former students have joined to rekindle the bonfire celebration on a ranch 10 miles from A&M's campus in College Station. Until the disaster in 1999, students had built the bonfire for 90 years on the eve of the school's football game with archrival University of Texas.

University officials are not pleased. Nor are they assuaged that organizers of the Unity Project -- as this year's bonfire is billed -- say they are observing strict safety measures.

Texas A&M's new president, former CIA chief Robert Gates, hasn't said whether he would consider reinstating a university-sponsored bonfire. "The first Aggie bonfire was small and off-campus," said Luke Cheatham, an A&M senior who is spokesman for the Unity Project. "We're simply taking our tradition back to its roots in order to save it."

-- Lee Hockstader

Texas A&M students move a freshly cut tree for their bonfire, which will be held off-campus this year. The traditional fire was halted after 12 students died in 1999.