50 years later…We still remember

11.14.70., a day that will forever live in the hearts of Marshall University students, faculty, staff, student-athletes, athletics personnel, the Huntington, Ceredo and Kenova, West Virginia communities and so many others.

50 years later…I’m the Sports Editor for The Parthenon. I never pictured that I would be in the shoes of former Sports Editor, Jeff Nathan, who perished in the 1970 plane crash. I never pictured I would be the Sports Editor during the 50th Anniversary of the Marshall Plane Crash. 

Jeff traveled to East Carolina University to cover the Marshall vs. ECU matchup, not knowing he and 74 others would not return home. The Herd had just lost 17-14 to the Pirates. They boarded Southern Airways Flight 932 and crashed around 7:36 p.m., just short of the Tri-State Airport runway. 

My heart aches for every single person that was personally affected by the tragedy. The football team, coaches, flight crew, fans and supporters were on that plane. 

Time stands still…75 beautiful lives were taken too soon. This is known as “the worst sports-related air tragedy in U.S. history” and we still feel the 75’s presence today.

We do not celebrate this moment, rather we honor and commemorate such a somber moment in Marshall University’s history. 

Every year on Nov. 14, the Memorial Fountain, that sits in the middle of Marshall University’s campus, gets turned off in honor and remembrance of the 75 at the Annual Fountain Ceremony. 

There’s no better sight than seeing the community and so many loved ones come together to pay their respects and honors to the 75.

The fountain is turned back on at the spring fountain ceremony to commemorate “the rebirth of Marshall football and the Young Thundering Herd” who persevered through the tragedy and rebuilt the football program and Huntington, Ceredo and Kenova communities.

While this year looks a lot different due to COVID-19, the Annual Fountain Ceremony is still planned to be held in person, with social distancing protocols and face masks required. It is invitation only and will be live streamed for all who are wanting to attend virtually.

This historical moment in history is what makes Marshall University so special, and I couldn’t be more honored and prouder to not only be Sports Editor but also a Daughter of Marshall.

There’s no other place I’d rather be. 

Our football team plays for them. Our community honors them. We remember them. We are strong and unified as one because of them. We are one Herd family. 

We will never forget.

The 75 Sons and Daughters of Marshall are always with us, now and forever.

From the ashes we rose and continue to rise from…We Are Marshall.

Taylor Huddleston can be contacted at [email protected].