Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business

Clemson’s Memorial Day service planned for May 26


The Clemson Corps will host a Memorial Day weekend service at Clemson University’s Scroll of Honor Memorial at 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 26. The memorial is located on the Clemson campus across Williamson Road from Memorial Stadium.

Lt. Col. Tom von Kaenel, U.S. Army retired and a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, will be the featured speaker.

Von Kaenel served in the Army as an infantryman and strategic planner during the Cold War (1977-1997), with 12 years stationed in Germany. He participated in several exercises and initiatives in 27 African countries and several former Warsaw Pact countries.

While bicycling in the Pyrenees in September 2009, he sustained a severe injury and was medically evacuated to a trauma ward at Landstuhl Regional Military Hospital in Germany for seven weeks. Seeing wounded and injured servicemembers from Iraq and Afghanistan was a life-changing event. 

Since returning to the Upstate in 2012, von Kaenel has served in several leadership roles with local military charities and service organizations.

He rode his bicycle across the United States twice: once in 2012 from Washington state to Washington, D.C. (77 days, 4,400 miles), and again in 2014 from Clemson’s Scroll of Honor to Key West, Florida, to Juneau, Alaska (126 days, 5,803 miles unsupported), to highlight servicemember deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan and the ongoing challenge of reducing servicemember suicide.

He is the founder of the Semper Fi Barn, a veterans retreat in Six Mile, South Carolina.

He is married to Doris von Kaenel and is the grandson, son, father, brother and grandfather of U.S. veterans.