EDITORIAL: Why we remember

“In the middle of Huntington, West Virginia, there’s a river. Next to this river, there’s 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, throughout the town, throughout the schooltime stands still.”

The day has come, once again, another year having passed by since that day in 1970, a day that would linger in the memories of Marshall University and the Huntington coommunity for years  to come. 

The fountain roars still in the morning, awaiting its finale, when in one quick moment, the water stops flowing, and slow, steady drips are all that remain. Silence is its new song. Pause. Stop. Reflect. Remember.

We remember the players and students who were just beginning their lives–promising young people with futures wide open.

We remember the coaches and staff who devoted their time, energy and devotion to a team and their community, fostering passion in young lives.

We remember the community members, fierce supporters of Marshall and Huntington, lovers of the Herd.

And we remember the flight crew who lost their lives , those who went to work and never came back.

It’s no secret that Marshall football is important to the Huntington community. In so many ways, it may just be the heartbeat. Our football program, and subsequently the community as a whole, is marked in history as one of tragedy and adversity. In this same span though, we are marked in history as overcomers, and every time the Thundering Herd takes to the field, we are reminded of that.

In a society that feels increasingly selfish, a world steeped in darkness and hopelessness,it is here on this one day at this one time that we are reminded that even in the darkest of times, when life seems too overwhelming, that we can go on.  In a culture that feels divided and angry, we can see clearly reflected in the fountain’s waters the faces of our neighbors, our classmates, our friends and family. At the fountain ceremony, there is no us and them. There is just simply, “we are…” 

We can see that to be human requires empathy and compassion and hope. We can see the power that can be found when we come together as one unit, as one team. 

At Marshall University, we will always remember. It is who we are. It is the responsibility of being a son or daughter of Marshall, to carry on the traditions of remembering,  to carry on a devotion to community.