Wounded Warriors take tour of Scroll of Honor


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United States Marine Cpl. Derrick Cannon rubs Howard's Rock
United States Marine Cpl. Derrick Cannon rubs Howard's Rock

CLEMSON – Four separate rocks that side in the park that is Clemson’s Scroll of Honor spell out a simple message for students and visitors alike to Clemson’s campus, each rock bearing the inscription of a single word.

The message? How Will You Serve?

The message is a vivid and potent reminder of Clemson’s military connection, and of the sacrifice made by a few so the many can enjoy the lives they live today.

The Clemson Corps maintains the Scroll of Honor to honor those Clemson alumni who made the ultimate sacrifice- those who gave their lives in service to their country. To date, 482 alumni have been identified who were killed from WWI through the current wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

For the 42 members of the Wounded Warriors Project that toured the Scroll of Honor and Clemson Memorial Stadium Thursday, that question has already been answered in ways that most of us will never know.

The Wounded Warrior Project’s purpose, according to their website, is:

* To raise awareness and enlist the public's aid for the needs of injured service members.
* To help injured service members aid and assist each other.
* To provide unique, direct programs and services to meet the needs of injured service members.

The group of United States Marines that toured the Scroll of Honor grounds – getting a brief lesson in Clemson’s military background – before getting a view of Howard’s Rock, the field at Death Valley, the weight rooms and a lunch inside of the WestZone.

One Marine in particular had a broad grin as he rubbed Howard’s Rock and posed for pictures – Pickens native Corporal Joseph “Derrick” Cannon is a lifelong Clemson fan. He just arrived back in the states (he is stationed at Camp Lejeune) after a tour in Afghanistan.

“It’s just an honor to be here. This is a great thing to see,” Cannon said. “I am a big Clemson fan, and this is the first time I’ve gotten to touch the rock. It’s a big honor for me to do that, but it’s also a big honor to be here with these guys and get to know them a little better.”

Cannon looked at Howard’s Rock – and the chunk recently taken out by vandals – and had a solution.

“Maybe they should have had a Marine guarding it,” Cannon said with a smile. “There are 42 of us. I don’t think anybody would mind.”

Cannon, who wrestled at Pickens High School and graduated in 2007, said ending the tour in South Carolina will be the highlight of the trip for him.

“This is definitely the highlight for me, being able to end it here in South Carolina,” he said. “I’ve never gotten to do it [rub the rock] so this is a once-in-a-lifetime thing for me. I was devastated that somebody did something like that. But I am still a Tiger fan, and to get to do something like this is one of the greatest experiences. To see this and see how people support you and support the military is really overwhelming.”
Cannon said that Clemson fans who haven’t seen the Scroll of Honor or the park need to do so as soon as possible.

“You can’t really explain something like this to somebody,” he said. “You have to bring them down here. You have to see it to believe it. You can try and explain it to your friends and your family, but you have to see what it means in person.”

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