Office of the Governor Rick Perry

College Station Depot

*Note - Gov. Perry frequently departs from prepared remarks.
Monday, November 26, 2001  •  Speech

Thank you Benjamin.  You have captured the spirit of Texas A&M, and its many historical traditions, with your incredible artistic talent.  It is only fitting that this replica of the old depot, with its great ties to the Texas A&M of years past, houses your work.

Mrs. Rudder, Dr. Bowen, Porter Garner, members of the Aggie Family, and my fellow Texans: I am honored to be with you today for this momentous occasion.

Texas A&M is known worldwide as a school that reveres tradition and history.  Today marks a new chapter in our great school’s history with the opening of the rebuilt College Station Train Depot.

For close to one hundred years, the College Station train depot played a central role in the Aggie experience.

A great many students and faculty got their first look at this university as the train pulled into this station.  Fortunately, enough folks decided to get off the train even after seeing this barren place that the doors of A&M stayed open.

Recognizing the central role the old depot played in forming this community, in 1938 the city all Aggies call “home” became known as College Station.

Just as young students got their first peek at Aggieland as they pulled into the station, some would get their last view of their beloved school as they followed the railroad tracks out of town and off to war.

As generations to come visit this depot, they will be able to envision the thoughts and emotions felt by the young Aggies who passed through its doors, the soldier who would follow these tracks to an uncertain fate as the world awaited their contribution…the young man who arrived wondering what the heck this new Agricultural and Mechanical College would be like…the cadets who anxiously waited for their dates to arrive from Texas Women’s University, spicing up an often dull, all-male campus. 

It was a unique place during a unique time, and this depot was at the heart of it all.

I am so delighted to see Margaret Rudder today.  She, and her legendary husband James Earl Rudder, knew many of the young men that walked through this depot at the calling of their nation.

Earl Rudder would lead some of those soldiers in one of the most daring operations of the war, the conquering of the cliffs at Pointe-du-Hoc on that fateful day, June 6, 1944- D-Day.

Earl Rudder represented everything that was right about Texas A&M: he loved his nation, and he cherished our freedom.  And he instilled in his men the discipline and character to defend this nation, and preserve that freedom.

As we begin this new century, we must be mindful of our past.  Throughout the campus of Texas A&M, there are various memorials and remembrances of the heroes this university sent to war.

And now, in the center of College Station, there will be a reminder of the train tracks that, in many cases, took them to war.

I hope all Aggies, and even Texans of different school ties, will make a stop at this rebuilt station.  They will have a chance to see a storied chapter of our past brought alive in the present.  Thank you, God bless you, and gig’em.

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