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