From one veteran to another and from one Aggie to another, Col. Harold “Soupy” Reich presented Anyssa Powell, class of 2019, with her Aggie Ring on Friday afternoon.
“It means a lot,” Reich said about the presentation. “It means almost like you leave a legacy, that you’ve done something that you enjoy doing and that it kind of brings two Aggies together. Just makes you feel good.”
Powell’s ring was not only presented by Reich but also sponsored by the World War II veteran, who turns 97 on April 26.
Reich, a member of the Class of 1945 who drove from San Antonio for the occasion, called it a privilege and a pleasure to present the Air Force veteran with her Aggie Ring.
“I asked the ring office to choose a girl from the Corps of Cadets, because the Corps of Cadets, I feel, is responsible for me being successful in the service,” he said about Powell’s selection. “Had I not had the training in military science at A&M, I wouldn’t have been promoted the way that I was.”
Reich, who served in the Army Air Forces, received his ring at a time when special exemptions were in place that allowed juniors to purchase their rings because they would be entering the war.
Powell noted her experience in Afghanistan and Korea from 2007 to 2011 working on the F-16 jet computer systems was much different than Reich’s experience in World War II, but said it meant a lot to get her ring from a fellow veteran who loves his country like she does.
“Anyssa, it is with pride and pleasure that I present you with your Texas Aggie senior ring. It is my wish that you will wear this ring for at least as long as I have been wearing mine, which is over 75 years,” Reich said in his presentation.
Powell, who will graduate in December, did not hesitate to say she would never take off her hard-earned jewelry.
“It’s not going anywhere. It’s going to stay right here,” she said. Though she typically does not wear any jewelry besides a pair of Texas earrings, she noted her Aggie Ring will become a new staple.
The item represents perseverance and the ability to push through and her place in the Texas A&M community.
“It means a lot. It means that all my hard work is paying off, that it wasn’t for nothing, and I can look at this every day, and it symbolizes that,” the North Carolina native said. “It symbolizes the people who surrounded me and loved me the entire time I was here.”
Reich wears two rings — his wedding ring and his Aggie Ring. He has taken his wedding ring off only one time since he and his late wife were married in 1947. And though he removes his Aggie Ring nightly, he said, “I’ve worn it every day for 75 years.”
The Aggie Ring is one of the most recognizable rings in the world, he said, noting anyone who has one can always be assured to have a friend.
“It represents belonging to something, being accepted, being connected to people of the same values,” he said. “I guess you could say it’s identification. It means ‘I belong to an organization that is unsurpassed by any other college.’ ”
Powell also presented Reich with a gift, a painted cigar box that included some of her squadron patches, an F-16 patch, a thank-you card and a birthday card she instructed Reich to not open until April 26.
“I truly hope I can wear it as long as he [has] worn his Aggie Ring, because that would be a full life,” she said.