When tragedies happen or even big events(happy events) we remember where we were, who we were with, what we were doing when we heard the news.
50 years ago this very day the greatest sports tragedy in the US happened.
50 years ago today my Alma mater lost its football team(the better majority of it) the entire coaching staff along with community members, fans and supporters!
Our Thundering herd football team played their hearts out and lost the game to East Carolina, it was a close game.
The East Carolina team celebrated their victory that night after the game.
The Thundering Herd never made it home.
It was a rainy dark evening the airplane crashed into the hillside on the way to airport in Huntington WV.
This was and still to this day the greatest sports tragedy in US sports.
I obviously was not around 50 years ago… I am just 34, but my connection to Marshall is strong as well as this date.
My dad was a professional photographer and my mom tells me the story of them watching TV that night when they broke into regular programming with BREAKING NEWS of the crash… then the phone rang, it was the local newspaper calling to see if my dad could come to get some photos of the crash site.
Mom says she recalls him packing his camera bag as he rushed out the door… he didn’t talk about what he saw there that night.
He turned all of his photos into the paper for them to use. Not 100% sure if these photos are his but I am pretty sure as I know my dad didn’t want any credit or recognition for the photos and there were not that many photographers then.
Several years later a movie was made “we are Marshall” fun fact this was filmed while I was a student at Marshall, I received my undergrad at Marshall University.
So on this day each year we stop and we remember.
My favorite line that opens the movie ” We Are Marshall” is…
“In the middle of Huntington WV there’s a river. Next to this river is a steel mill. Next to the steel mill there is a school. In the middle of the school, there’s a fountain. Each year on the exact same day, at the same exact hour, the water to this fountain is turned off. And in this moment once every year, through out the town, through out the school, time stands still.”
November 14, 1970
We Are Marshall
We have not and we will not forget
This year is special it has been 50 years and this year the football team and a few others will be getting honorary degrees, how special this is! Because of Covid these ceremonies are by invitation only, so many won’t be able to attend in person but we will all join virtually if we can.
November 14,2020 we are playing East Tennessee at home, every year when we play on the 14th or at least around this date we wear special jerseys and it is considered our “blackout game”
Our team have a 75 memorial sticker on their helmets and they take a trip to the cemetery the team is buried, many buried there together as they could not be identified.
Our school, our town has forever been affected by this tragedy and although the early years of Marshall football was not the best but, from the ashes we have rose and we have played the very best for them we win for them because WE ARE MARSHALL!!!!
The 75 remembered