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The Parthenon

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Editorial: We Are Marshall

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“In the middle of Huntington, West Virginia there’s a river. Next to this river there is a steel mill. And next to the steel mill there is a school. In the middle of the school, there is a fountain. Each year on the exact same day, at the exact same 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.”

If you’ve seen the movie “We Are Marshall” then I’m sure you know where this line comes from. This quote is strong and significant, and when thinking of a way to describe the community that is Marshall University, this quote always comes to mind.

Becoming one of the Herd is a smart choice, one of the smartest anyone could ever make for a number of reasons. The biggest of these reasons is the atmosphere.

College towns are always said to be the epicenters of support and spirit for the students attending the college there, but there is no other college town quite like Huntington, West Virginia.

The plane crash was a horrible tragedy, and one that is remembered every day, not just on November 14. Even though the tragedy took place nearly 50 years ago, it becomes a part of every single person who steps foot onto campus and becomes a son or daughter of Marshall.

Words cannot describe the fountain ceremony itself. You may consider skipping it, but don’t. Once you’ve heard the incredible silence that remains when the fountain is turned off, you will never feel the same.

The community support is overwhelming. Mayor Steve Williams himself was a member of the Young Thundering Herd, the team that emerged from the ashes and began piecing Huntington back together again after the tragedy.

The fountain ceremony serves as a way to remember those 75 lives lost during the plane crash in 1970, but it also reminds us to keep moving forward. In those moments when the final drops of water descend from the fountain, time truly does stand still, if only for a few minutes. After that, we have to keep living the kinds of lives that honor the legacy of the 75.

Most people you will meet in Huntington, or anywhere you go once you mention you’re a student at Marshall, will have a story to tell. Stories of love, stories of loss, stories of lessons learned. They’ll all tell you what Marshall gave to them.

Beginning college is a chance to do something, to leave your mark on the world. Join a club, volunteer at a local nonprofit, play for a sports team, perform at a comedy night or do anything that you’ve always wanted to.

Take risks and put yourself out there. See what Marshall and Huntington can give to you, because they’ve given so much to so many already.

“We are Marshall” is not just a chant before a football game or the name of a movie, it’s a part of every one of us, and it’s about to become a life-long part of you.

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