By JOHN RABY, Related Press
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) — Marshall College commemorated the 50th anniversary of one of many worst sports activities disasters in U.S. historical past Saturday, a airplane crash that killed many of the complete soccer staff.
The solemn ceremony was held round a fountain devoted to the crash victims on Marshall’s Huntington campus. As a part of an annual ceremony, the fountain was turned off on the finish of the service and shall be turned again on within the spring.
“This plaza and this fountain are the guts of Marshall College,” college President Jerome Gilbert mentioned. “It’s the middle of exercise of the campus.
“As we speak, it’s a sacred place.”
On Nov. 14, 1970, the chartered jet crashed in fog and rain right into a hillside upon strategy to an airport close to Huntington because the staff was getting back from a sport at East Carolina, killing all 75 on board.
On Saturday, 75 candles surrounded the fountain. Gone had been sons, fathers, moms, classmates and fraternity brothers. The victims included 36 soccer gamers and 39 college directors, coaches, followers, spouses and flight crew. White roses had been laid by the fountain as every sufferer’s title was learn on the ceremony.
Former Marshall cheerleader Lucianne Kautz Name misplaced her father, Charlie E. Kautz, who was the college’s athletic director. She graduated from Marshall in 1971.
“We every misplaced a number of members of the family,” mentioned Name, the ceremony’s keynote speaker. “From that second, we turned one household.”
Marshall determined to proceed the soccer program. However for the college and all the group, it left an enormous void. Some who had been left off the flight, didn’t make the journey or misplaced family members spent the subsequent 5 a long time with crippling questions that had no solutions.
“Sure, we grieve. Sure, we harm,” Marshall athletic director Mike Hamrick mentioned. “This occasion taught me how one can have fun somebody’s life. That’s what we’re doing at this time.”
Kenova native and Grammy-award winner Michael W. Smith opened the ceremony by singing “Superb Grace.” He informed the viewers that he was 13 when the airplane crashed eight minutes from his home.
“It endlessly modified my life,” Smith mentioned. ”The city died. However the city got here again.”
The rebuilding of the soccer program was the topic of the 2006 film “We’re Marshall” beginning Matthew McConaughey.
“50 years,” McConaughey mentioned Saturday on Twitter. “Always remember. By no means defeated. We Are Marshall.”
The ceremony was held by invitation-only as a result of coronavirus pandemic and was made accessible on-line. Amongst these within the fountain viewers had been 4 soccer gamers from East Carolina who performed in that 1970 sport.
On Friday, the 36 gamers who died within the crash obtained levels from Marshall of their fields of examine. Members of the present staff additionally visited a close-by cemetery, the place six gamers from the 1970 staff whose our bodies had been by no means recognized had been buried.
And on Saturday, the 16th-ranked soccer staff gained, defeating Center Tennessee 42-14.
Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This materials might not be revealed, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.