I remember the when the stack fell like it was yesterday. We all woke up, just a few hours later, and everything was different. I knew it from the second I got up. I didn’t really understand, I was too young. But I knew you were there, at the stack, like you had always wanted to be, and they hadn’t found you yet.
I can still hear the sound of the dial up Internet as my sister refreshed the page over and over again, for what felt like ages, waiting for your name to go off the list of the missing, waiting for you to be found. I was supposed to be in bed, but I couldn’t sleep. That awful sound will never get out of my head. I hid behind the door, because when you were found, I didn’t want to miss it. I was so young. It never occurred to me that you wouldn’t end up okay. You were family. In my mind, nothing could happen to family. I’m pretty sure mom and dad knew exactly where I was, too. But I didn’t get in trouble for sneaking out of bed this time. 
I remember when your name moved from the missing column. The last refresh of the page. That awful dial up sound. No one had said anything, so I knew it was bad. Even though you’re family, your name moved to the wrong column. 
I was too young for funerals. We were cousins, but not close enough family-wise to be invited to the campus memorials. Maybe that’s why I’m still not over it. Maybe that’s why I’ll never nor be sad. Every year, on this day, all I can think about is you. How kind you were, how much you loved to write, how you liked to play small harmless jokes on us. I guess it was a blessing and a curse to be related to you. Yes, I am actually allergic to Christmas trees, and was not making up an excuse to not attend church. You always joked about that around this time of year. I’m pretty sure I pretended to be irritated with you, but you know I liked your teasing as much as you did. 
Somedays I still wonder what kind of man you would be today. Though, to be honest, I already know. You would be kind, gentle, and still tease all of us about silly things. You were my favorite part of CCD. You always made me smile. You were like a big brother to me, in a way. You always looked out for me and my sister, and made sure we were a part of everything going on. You were always concerned with making sure everyone was having a good time. 
I could never attend or be a part of Bonfire. I tried, but every time it was like something was keeping me from it. It’s probably just psychological, but I like to think it’s you trying to protect me, because you would know that I couldn’t handle it. You would know I care too much for people, especially people like you, so I took or as a sign that I’m just meant to admire from afar. And that’s okay with me. 
To me, you are the embodiment of the Aggie Spirit. Kind and brave, selfless and loyal. You will always live on, and forever will be a part of the university you loved, of the tradition you loved. I know you’re sitting up there with your dogs, writing poems and playing harmless pranks on those around you, and helping guide the flame of bonfire. That I have no doubt. That is what made you proud. 
And I just hope that I make you proud, too. 
I love you and miss you, Lucas. #here