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NEWS | Nov. 7, 2016

Patriotism flies high during Clemson University's Military Appreciation Day

By Staff Sgt. Ken Scar 335th Signal Command (Theater)

Clemson University celebrated its 23rd annual Military Appreciation Week culminating with multiple events Saturday as the Clemson Tigers hosted the Syracuse Orange in Memorial Stadium. The game features a “Purple Out” as fans are encouraged to wear purple in support of the military.

Clemson has a storied military past dating back to its founding as a military college. Beginning with the first graduating class in 1896, Clemson has sent more than 10,000 men and women into the armed services, with 491 of those men and women having paid the ultimate price for our freedom.

Clemson’s entire senior class of 1917 volunteered for service during World War I, and during the second World War, only Texas A&M and Army provided more Army soldiers than Clemson.

On Thursday, 491 flags were placed on the Scroll of Honor – a memorial across the street from the stadium that honors the Clemson alumni who gave the ultimate sacrifice. Clemson alumnus and WWII veteran Ben Skardon,99, a survivor of the Bataan Death March, placed flags on the stones for two fellow alums, Henry Leitner and Otis Morgan, who saved his life while they were all interred in a Japanese prisoner of war camp. Leitner and Morgan did not survive the war.
Among the observances before the game was the awarding of Purple Hearts to two Upstate veterans:

Marine General Glenn M. Walters, assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, awarded purple hearts to Cpls. Travis Evans and Alex Chapman. Evans, who now is an Easley, S.C. police officer, was wounded in 2010 in Marjah, Afghanistan, by an improvised explosive device. This was his second Purple Heart. Chapman, who lives in Pacolet and attends USC-Union, was wounded by an IED in 2011 in Afghanistan.

Medal of Honor recipient Kyle Carpenter was introduced next, and received a deafening ovation from the packed 81,000-seat stadium.

Derick Carver, a former Army Ranger who lost his leg in an IED blast in Afghanistan, was recognized as The Hero of the Game during the first quarter.

During halftime, the Tiger Band played the Armed Forces Medley, and all veterans and active-duty military members were asked to stand to be recognized when their branch’s song was played. Veterans were recognized in the west end zone by branch during this time as well.

Families of fallen service members from the state of South Carolina were introduced at halftime. A fallen soldier tribute and 21-gun salute followed in the east end zone, ending with the playing of "Taps."