A Quiet Fountain

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The fountain at Marshall University will be turned off tomorrow.  If you’ve seen the movie “We Are Marshall”, you know why.

Marshall FountainNovember 14, 1970, the DC-9 carrying Marshall’s football team, coaches and some of their fans clipped some trees just before the Tri-State Airport and crashed.  All 75 aboard the plane were killed. 

Although Huntington is our second largest city, it is still a small town.  Imagine everyone in your town touched with grief.  Then imagine them trying to learn to go on.  That is one of the hardest parts of grief, living.

This fountain helped.  It was installed two years after the crash, and is an inspiring sight even if you don’t know the story.  But when you know, it means so much more. 

A simple plaque at the base reads, “They shall live on in the hearts of their families and friends forever and this memorial records their loss to the university and the community.” 

The fountain was designed by sculptor Harry Bertoia.  It’s over 13 feet tall and weighs 6500 pounds.  Along the top of the fountain you’ll see 75 points, each one representing one of the crash victims. 

When I look at the fountain, I see 75 beloved souls soaring to heaven, and a town’s tears falling down below.  The sculptor had intended that I see the living going on upon the waters of life.  Well, with all art, we see what we see.

Tomorrow a wreath will be laid on the water and the fountain will be turned off until spring. 

Keith Morehouse, sports director of our local WSAZ, was nine when his Dad died in this crash.  Keith’s Dad was the Marshall Sports Information Director.  His wife Debbie lost both her parents in the crash.  At one of the previous memorials, Keith read this poem, which says it all too well:

What happened to the school who lost its team, once the players were all gone.
It mourned and grieved, yet still believed that the games they should go on.

A team showed up in ’71. Would Marshall be the same?
The coaches knew. The players too. This was more than just a game.

An incredible loss to come back from. The journey would be long.
But in its quest to be the best, this team was thousands strong.

The wins have come, but the seasons aren’t done. This is everybody’s team.
See we’ve been blessed, unlike the rest, to live our loved one’s dream


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Cynthia Tilghman, Realtor® Onslow County NC Home Specialist
Kingsbridge Realty, Inc - Hubert, NC
Hi Sarah,
What a tragic event that plane crash was and I can only imagine the grief felt in Marshall.  That  1971 team and coaches were courageous and wise to understand that life must go on.  Beautiful poem, I'm sure there was a dry eye in the house.
Nov 12, 2007 09:20 PM #1
Suzanne Sands
Pavao Real Estate - Somerset, MA
Somerset MA Real Estate


How terribly sad to have such a tragic event hit so close to home, that poem and sculpture are beautiful. :)

Nov 12, 2007 10:07 PM #2
Chris Griffith
Downing-Frye Realty, Bonita Springs, FL - Bonita Springs, FL
Bonita Springs Listing Agent
Absolutely amazing Sarah.  You captured it all and brough it to everyone.  And you think you can't write for Scoop...
Nov 12, 2007 10:13 PM #3
Sarah Cooper
Real Estate Shows - Hurricane, WV

Chris - This one went on the Scoop almost simultaneously.  Glad you liked it.

Suzanne - I was only one, I don't remember any of this when it happened.  But stuff like this leaves a scar, and around here we grew up with it.  

Cynthia - That poem means even more when you know that he grew up missing his Dad, and went on to follow in his footsteps.  He did his Dad proud.

Nov 12, 2007 10:31 PM #4
Linda Scanlan
A Fan of AR - Burleson, TX
Sarah, what a wonderful memorial to those who died. Gorgeous fountain and beautiful poem.
Nov 12, 2007 10:54 PM #5
Diane Aurit
LKN Realty, LLC - Mooresville, NC
Lake Norman Real Estate
Beautiful.  It must be special in the spring when it is turned back on and comes to life again.
Nov 12, 2007 11:45 PM #6
Thomas Weiss
Thomas R. Weiss - West Palm Beach, FL


You know I said it before, but that was a great Movie, and story line.

Very Sad Though,

Tom Weiss

Nov 13, 2007 12:23 AM #7
Desiree Daniels
RE/MAX Tri County - Robbinsville, NJ
Very nice... thanks for sharing.  You always see statues and monuments and wonder the story.   Thanks for sharing the story with us.   It was a sad day for the community and the school.  
Nov 13, 2007 01:29 AM #8
Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman
Liberty Homes - Mililani, HI
What a beautiful fountain for a tribute to the victims!
Nov 13, 2007 02:12 AM #9
Linda Futral
Newnan, GA
Thanks for sharing Sarah.  This is a beautiful fountain and quiet a lovely poem.
Nov 13, 2007 03:15 AM #10
Sarah Cooper
Real Estate Shows - Hurricane, WV

Linda - I finally saw "We Are Marshall" recently, so this is even more touching than it would have been.

Sally - It's right outside the Student Union where kids are passing it all the time.  Life goes on, and I think that's the best place for it.  

Dez - I had to look all over the place to find the information I wanted for this!  I'd heard all the stuff I put in here, but I wanted to verify it before I wrote it.  Now I'm glad to have what I wanted in one place, even if just for me.  :o)

Tom - I am really glad I finally saw it.

Diane - I'm sure it is.  :o)

Linda - I think it's a fitting tribute.  There are others as well, but I've always been fond of this one.

Nov 13, 2007 04:55 AM #11
Lysa Napolitano
Daytona Beach, FL
Sarah, 1970~Now I know why I don't remember the crash. I was 6. The fountain is stunning, thanks for the background on it.
Nov 14, 2007 05:30 AM #12
Jeff Selan
Very good blog Sarah.  I need to go and see that.  never been to that area of the University.
Nov 20, 2007 02:28 AM #13
Maggie Dokic | Miami, FL | 305.81.HOUSE (46873)
eXp Realty LLC - Miami, FL
GREEN, CDPE, SFR, Pinecrest | Palmetto Bay |

Sarah, I have not seen the movie and was unaware of the story.  What a tragic thing to happen.  Now I have to rent the movie and prepare myself for the tears.


Nov 22, 2007 11:27 PM #14
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