Sept. 2, 2010
CLEMSON, SC – Hardly a day goes by that I don’t see visitors at the new Scroll of Honor Memorial as I drive by.
People of all ages – elderly veterans, alumni, faculty and staff, community members, young families, students – have paid their respects to those Clemson alumni who gave their lives in service to their country. I hope the solemn nature of this campus landmark will be appreciated and respected by the thousands of football fans spending their Saturdays at Memorial Stadium, the original monument to alumni who died in active military service.
The April 22 dedication was a solemn event, combining heartfelt tributes, military pageantry, prayers for the dead and pride in Clemson’s heritage of service to our nation.
Since that ceremony, I often see people walking around the barrow reading the names of the fallen engraved on rocks. Some people pose for photos in front of the massive tiger sculptures guarding the entry plaza. Some sit quietly on benches, perhaps reflecting on the significance of this memorial and personal memories of a lost classmate or loved one.
Retired Army Major Dawson Luke, who helped spearhead the project, describes the concept in sacred terms. He said even though it’s located near the most visited spot on campus, the memorial’s simple, intimate design allows it to be “a chapel for family, friends and classmates of the fallen.”
The site for the Scroll of Honor Memorial was chosen for its proximity to Clemson’s football stadium, built in 1942 and named “Memorial Stadium” to honor alumni who had made the ultimate sacrifice. But no explanation for the name was ever posted.
The Clemson Corps, established in 1999 as an Alumni Association constituent group, wanted to remedy this omission. Members started maintaining a scroll of names in 2002 with the ultimate goal of erecting a campus memorial. Through their advocacy and fund-raising efforts, the Scroll of Honor now stands as a perpetual memorial to Clemson heroes.
The brick walkway that connects the structure with the east side of Memorial Stadium is symbolic of the connection between Clemson University’s military heritage and athletic tradition. The hope is that the memorial will become another one of Clemson’s cherished gameday rituals.
The members of the Clemson Corps want fans to be able to enjoy the echoes of Clemson past before watching the Tigers play on football Saturdays. They would also like to maintain the aura of respect that rests on the site for the fallen that are memorialized there.
With this in mind, fans are reminded not to disturb the setting during tailgating activities. The integrity of the stone monument and the columns should be maintained so that others may appreciate the monument in its full context. Tailgating is prohibited, although casual eating and drinking by passers-by will be permitted as long as trash does not find its way into the designated area.
Also, the Clemson Corps would like to remind Tiger fans that the memorial exists as a tribute to the Clemson souls lost in battle; therefore, the memorial should be a site where reflection is encouraged without the presence of excessive noise.
As the football season prepares to kick off this week, the Scroll of Honor Memorial will allow Clemson people to experience an important part of the university’s history within a traditional tailgating environment. It should enrich the pregame and postgame experience for fans from all over the country that recognize that Clemson is a special place because of the people that have sacrificed greatly for it.
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