Sept. 19, 2001
CLEMSON – Military Appreciation Day at Clemson couldn’t come at a better time. With the nation gearing up for a war on terrorism, Americans and Tiger football fans Saturday will show their colors — red, white, blue…and orange.
The Clemson Corps and the Army and Air Force ROTC detachments at Clemson University have designated Sept. 22 as Military Appreciation Day. The original plan of activities has been amended in remembrance of those victimized by last week’s terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C.
The program will start with a moment of silence at the beginning of the football game. Seventy Army and Air Force cadets, who are recipients of Clemson Corps scholarships, will unfurl a giant American flag during halftime. Pershing Rifles will fire a 21-gun salute, followed by the playing of Taps.
The event will include a pre-game appearance by some Clemson alumni who were once held as prisoners of war and a military equipment display on Bowman Field. More than 10,000 Clemson alumni have served during major conflicts including the Spanish-American War, World Wars I and II, Korean War, Vietnam War and Desert Storm. Nearly 500 of these alumni sacrificed their lives when their nation called them to duty.
“Thousands of Clemson men and women have served in the Armed Forces,” said Dawson Luke, a Clemson Corps board member and chairman of the corps’ operations committee. “Military Appreciation Day will recognize the contributions of the Clemson military personnel.”
The Clemson alumni and former prisoners of war scheduled to participate in Saturday’s events are:
Retired Army Col. Ben Skardon, Class of 1938, is a survivor ofthe Bataan Death March. Col. Skardon spent three years and fourmonths as a prisoner of war in the Philippines, Japan and ChinaFormer Army 1st Lt. Bill Funchess, Class of 1948, spent two yearsand 10 months as a prisoner of war in Korea Retired Air Force Col.Bill Austin, Class of 1959, spent five years and six months as aprisoner of war in Vietnam Retired Navy Cmdr. Bob Fant, Class of1960, spent four years and eight months as a prisoner of war inVietnam.
Nearly 1,000 Junior ROTC cadets from South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia are expected to attend the game. Various pieces of Army equipment will be on display on Bowman Field., including a military chemical detection system and an Army of One recruiting “HUMMWV”vehicle.
The football game will be broadcast live on ESPN2 Saturday evening, and fans are encouraged to replace the usual sea of orange in the stadium with the patriotic colors of red, white and blue. Organizers encourage game-goers to bring small American flags and to be in the stands by 5:15 p.m.
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