In 2001 as we were planning for the fall Military Appreciation Day, one of the members of the Clemson Corps suggested that we somehow identify Clemson Alumni who had died in service to their country.  Others agreed this would be a critical aspect of perpetuating Clemson’s strong military heritage.

Members of the Clemson Corps then began to collect names of those alumni who had given the ultimate sacrifice while performing their military duties.  The Scroll of Honor was created to recognize these heroes and was unveiled at Military Appreciation Day in 2002.  The original Scroll of Honor was in a portable frame that we moved from place to place on campus.  Later we realized that a temporary, portable scroll was not befitting the sacrifice these great alumni had made.  In 2005 we began to consider a permanent memorial on campus that would bring appropriate honor to these heroes.

In our research we found a document from 1942 that certified that the new football stadium would be named Memorial Stadium to honor Clemson’s alumni who “have made the supreme sacrifice in the service of their country.”  This drew us to the area of the stadium for a site for the memorial.  In 2006 we obtained the wholehearted approval of the Athletic Department to use the site upon which the Scroll of Honor Memorial now stands.  It is on an axis that extends straight from the West Zone, through Howard’s Rock to Tillman Hall.  In March 2007 we proposed the Scroll of Honor Memorial to the University Administrative Council and received their 100% approval to proceed.

With the gifts from thousands of alumni and friends of Clemson, this memorial became a reality.  Ground breaking was held in August 2008.  Construction began in April 2009, and the Memorial was dedicated in April 2010.

Symbology of the Memorial

This is a place people of all ages can come to gain an understanding of the sacrifice that was common among a special group of Clemson’s alumni. There is symbolism designed into every aspect of the Memorial so that the Memorial embodies a clear and simple expression of the character and attributes held among Clemson’s fallen.

  • The overall design is simple, yet dignified – like an outdoor chapel.
  • The Tigers represent a perpetual honor guard to ensure the sanctity of the Memorial.  They appear to be engaged in a conversation about their responsibility.
  • The mound is circular in design to represent that duty, honor, and country are values that transcend time.  The legacy of these heroes will never end, just as Roy Pearce wrote in 1944: “we’ll never let them down, never!”
  • This circular form symbolizes unity within this select group of people and more broadly represents the devotion that ultimately all within the Clemson family should share.
  • The basic and unrefined stone elements celebrate the uniqueness of the individuals while the assembly of the pieces around a mound – or barrow – celebrates their common bond.
  • The names are engraved in the stones in random fashion, just as the men fell on the battlefield.  There is no pattern to death in war.
  • Only their names and class year are engraved on the stones.  These were Clemson men and they were bound to their classmates.  This they all had in common –  not date of death, military service or rank.
  • The stones are mounted in the barrow at an angle so that visitors must bow their heads to read the names on the stones – as if in reverence to the memory of the heroes.
  • The trees are all slanted toward the barrow as if bowing to pay homage to the sacrifices of the honorees.
  • The area above the barrow is clear so that visitors can look up toward heaven as if to pay respect to the honorees.
  • The inscription on the base of the National Colors Monument – “Freedom is not Free” – tells the story of the sacrifice made by all these great men.