HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) — At the Spring Hill Cemetery in Huntington, West Virginia the 1970 plane crash memorial had a large group of visitors who traveled quite a distance to be there.

Former players of the East Carolina University Pirates back in the 1970s, before and after the tragedy, came out to pay their respects to their fallen opponents. Many of the players say the thundering herd and the affected community have been in their hearts ever since that tragic day.

Former ECU player Steve Davis says it’s “something you don’t forget.” Another former player Russ Scales says it was an unforgettable experience for so many, including people who live as far away as North Carolina.

How can you forget it. No matter what happens where the conferences go, there’s gonna be a connection every year.

Russ Scales, former ECU player

This year, the Pirates play the Thundering Herd, giving those attending the game the opportunity to come back and once again remember “The 75.”

After a short visit to the cemetery, the ECU alumni visited the memorial fountain before heading to the much-anticipated match-up. These players, who once competed on the same field as the 1970 team, say it’s a very emotional experience being back in the area.

It’s a very heartwarming feeling to know that you’re able to at least come back and pay a tribute to them.

Butch Britton, former ECU player

These former players say the bond between ECU and Marshall University is one that is unbreakable.