Sometimes a Matchup Means More, Both On and Off Field at Clemson

When the Tigers host UConn, they are expected to manhandle the Huskies. However, don’t let the weekend slip by without taking in something that Clemson does better than anyone when they celebrate those that made it possible for these games to even be played.

The 2021 season definitely has not gone as expected, but that will not damper Clemson’s annual celebration of our country’s military forces when they take on the Huskies this weekend. Even more so, when it comes to Tiger fans that have been in the military or have family that have served.

There may still be some that do not realize it but Clemson has always had a long military history that dates all the way back to the beginning. See, the school itself was founded as a military school in 1889. Something else that many may not know is that the entire senior class in 1917 volunteered for service in World War I and the only schools to provide more Army officers in World War II than the Tigers were Army and Texas A&M. More than 10,000 Clemson graduates have served in the Armed Forces and 494 alumni have been killed from World War I through the current wars and conflicts to date.

“There’s just a tremendous history here,” Dabo Swinney pointed out back in 2016. “It’s not just, ‘Let’s do Military Appreciation Day here at Clemson.’ We’ve got a deep, deep military history.”

Everyone knows about the hill and Howard’s Rock but there is another unique part of Clemson that can easily get lost in all of the hoopla that is gameday in Death Valley. Right across the street from Memorial Stadium sitsThe Scroll of Honor. It contains the names of every Tiger who gave their lives serving our great country.

Clemson’s celebration of this special day began back in 1994 when the Tigers had four F-16s from Shaw Air Force Base fly over during pregame of their matchup with Georgia Tech that season. The Tigers, ever since then, have delegated a game on their schedule either around Veteran’s Day or when they play host to a school with their own military heritage to celebrate our military history. As a tribute during halftime Tiger Band plays the Armed Forces Medley as all veterans and active-duty military members are recognized when their branch’s song is played. Then a fallen soldier tribute takes place with the soldier cross, a 21-gun salute from the east end zone, and they end with the playing of “Taps.”

Clemson even uses their uniforms to help honor our military. Thats why you always see them in all purple only for this game. They wear those uniforms in honor of our Armed Forces and the Purple Heart. I, as a long time Tiger fan, was never a big supporter of the all purple look until they started using it for this game.

See, both of my Grandaddy’s not only served in the military but also served during World War II. Along with them, I am not only a Clemson fan, but also come from a family that is loaded with veterans. This alone makes this game that much more special whether the Tigers are playing a Top-10 opponent or a team like UConn who comes in with a 1-8 record. Sometimes a game is about more than just the matchup on the field at Clemson.

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