Clemson honors POW-MIA with empty seat at Memorial Stadium
CLEMSON, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Samuel Vaughan still remembers the 14 months spent as a prisoner of war.
“It’s the feeling of no control, First Lieutenant Samuel Vaughan, a Vietnam War veteran and Prisoner of War, said. “You have no control over what you say or do or anything else. You can say it and do it, but you’re going to be punished.”
Along with two other Vietnam Prisoner of Wars -
“By the time we came home, people had begun to realize that there was a lot of sacrifice that went through over there.” Colonel William Renwick Austin II, a Vietnam War veteran and Prisoner of War, said.
Clemson is providing a permanent hero’s honor.
“I was really really looking forward to this.” Vaughan said.
Not far from Howard’s Rock, an empty chair sits. It’s to remember all the prisoners of war - those who returned home and those who didn’t.
“Well, I think about all the people that are not here to fill it.” Austin said.
“I like the way that Clemson’s honored that chair and the POW group is honored to people here,” Vaughan said. “And it’s a vice versa. You guys honor us. We honor you.”
The chair provides a solemn reminder of the ultimate price.
“Clemson takes amazing care of their veterans,” Emily Fant-Nelson, daughter of Robert Fant, said. “It’s really important that we have this chair to have people see it and remember what happened and what was sacrificed.”
The moment makes these heros proud: both to be Americans and Tigers.
“It’s my alma mater,” Commander Robert Fant, Vietnam War veteran and Prisoner of War, said. “Go Tigers!”
“There’s no way to describe how I feel about being a Tiger or an American.” Vaughan said.
“To have the university that I graduated from be that supportive of veterans is a good feeling.” Austin said.
As part of the Tigers Military Appreciation Day, there will be a Flyover and a service man parachuting into Clemson’s game against Louisville. There will also be service members and veterans honored throughout the game.
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