Saturday, November 14, 2015

We Are ...


Forty-five years ago. November 14, 1970. A dark, foggy, cold, rainy night in Wayne County, West Virginia. Seventy-five souls perished in the worst single air tragedy in NCAA sports history.  Almost the entire Marshall University football team, coaches, flight crew, and many fans lost their lives that night when the plane carrying them home from a 17-14 loss to East Carolina University crashed into a hillside while attempting to land at Tri-State Airport.

Our community was and forever will be heartbroken at the event that is forever seared into our memories. I was eight years old at the time. I recall watching the news with my parents. I had no idea what was happening but I knew it was bad.

This is a photo of the Memorial Student Center Fountain that stands in memory of those victims. Every year, on November 14, a memorial service is held at this fountain. There are speakers, many who are children, grandchildren, friends and relatives of those who perished, and the laying of a ceremonial wreath. The water to the fountain is turned off from the end of the ceremony until Spring the next year.
The fountain is more than 13 feet high and weighs 6,500 pounds. There are 75 points encircling the top of the fountain. One for each life that was lost. There is also a bronze plaque inscribed:
"They shall live on in the hearts of their families and friends forever, and this memorial records their loss to the university and to the community."

There also is a memorial that overlooks the area where the plane crashed into the hillside:

Here is a youtube clip from the movie "We Are Marshall" starring Matthew McConaughey that was made in 2006. It's a scene of a pre-game speech the first season after the crash. I did not make this youtube video. I am proud to say that I am a graduate of Marshall University.

If you are in Huntington, West Virginia for any length of time, you will also shout:

We are ... MARSHALL!!


  1. What a nice post about Marshall. I have watched that movie and cried. Thanks for sharing a bit more about it.

  2. thank you for remembering this LesleyAnn, and for reminding us to remember as well :)

  3. Such a sad event.
    The memorial fountain so poignantly a reminder.
    God rest their souls.

  4. Oh my, how sad. I'll have to try and find the movie now that I know a bit of the history.
    Hope you are doing well. :)


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