The Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity presented the first annual “Changing of the Colors at the Sam Houston Grave” yesterday in Oakwood Cemetery to preserve the visibility and legacy of our school’s namesake.
The event featured five speakers who recognized the Texas hero as a strong-willed pioneer who led his beloved state with bold resolve. Dr. Caroline Castillo Crimm, City Councilman and Alpha Tau Omega alumnus Mac Woodward, Walker County Historical Commission James Patton, Huntsville Mayor J. Turner and State Representative Lois Kolkhorst comprised the panel of speakers, each offering their individual insight into General Houston’s memory and his effect on the local community.
Selected members of the ROTC then performed a customary replacement of the colors while the audience watched in respectful silence. Members of the Sons of the American Revolution proceeded to fire Civil War replica rifles in honor of the flag change, followed by a playing of ‘Taps’ by members of the Bearkat Marching Band.
Looking back on the event, Mayor Turner commended the fraternity for its efforts in hosting an event so closely tied with the Huntsville public.
“Activities like what we did today build the fabric of our community,” said Turner. “We are reconnecting with our history and it makes Huntsville a better place to live.”
The first attempt by the fraternity to bridge the gap between the city and the student body proved to be a success, giving birth to a new tradition. The men of Alpha Tau Omega and city officials will now hold a ceremony replacing the flags at Sam Houston’s grave every year during homecoming week to further promote his memory and legacy.