Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

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Fountain Ceremony Celebrates Unity Despite Tragedy

Roses+are+placed+on+the+edge+of+the+Memorial+Fountain+during+the+Annual+Memorial+Fountain+Ceremony.
Abigail Cutlip
Roses are placed on the edge of the Memorial Fountain during the Annual Memorial Fountain Ceremony.

Racial tensions were put to the side on campus after the Marshall plane crash on Nov. 14, 1970, the keynote speaker said Tuesday at the 53rd Annual Memorial Fountain Ceremony. Football players, members of the coaching staff and community members died in the crash.

“Death does not discriminate,” said Craig Greenlee, a former Marshall football player. “This was not a Black thing. This was not a white thing. This was a death thing.”

Students, faculty and community members, as well as family members of the 75 who died in the crash, attended the ceremony at the Memorial Fountain in the campus plaza. 

Greenlee left the Marshall University football team in 1969 to focus on his academics, a decision that would later save his life.

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“My life could have ended over 50 years ago on a muddy hillside in West Virginia,” he said. “It’s so clear to me now that God had another plan.”

Greenlee is a 1974 graduate of Marshall and the author of “November Ever After: A Memoir of Tragedy and Triumph in the Wake of the 1970 Marshall Football Plane Crash.”

The 1970 team serves as an inspiration for everyone, according to Greenlee. He said that since the crash, Marshall has triumphed through the tragedy and that the legacy of the 75 lives on today.

“When you look at the results, that’s the undeniable evidence that good things can and do happen in the wake of awful circumstances,” Greenlee said. “Most folks might describe this as resilience. I call it bounce back ability.”

“The seeds for today’s success were sown many years ago,” he went on to say. “We’re the beneficiaries, and, because of that, we should keep telling the story so that it remains fresh in the minds of every generation.”

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