HUNTINGTON , W.Va. (WOWK) – On November 14, 1970, a chartered jet carrying most of the Marshall University football team clipped a stand of trees and crashed into a hillside just two miles from the Tri-State Airport in Kenova, West Virginia.
Thirty-seven Marshall football players were aboard the plane, along with the team’s coach, its doctors, the university athletic director and 25 team boosters–some of Huntington, West Virginia’s most prominent citizens – who had traveled to North Carolina to cheer on the Thundering Herd.
The University now has an annual memorial service every year, for the 75 victims of the tragic plane crash that killed everyone on board.
This year’s Keynote speaker was Matthew M. Ralsten III. He is the son of Murrill and Helen Ralsten who both died in the plane crash.
“I urge all of you, to enjoy your life, the precious moments you have. To spend each day with some laughter, and with some thought, to get your emotions going.Dr. Matthew Ralsten III
Cheryll Eaton said that her and her grandfather went to the site the day after the crash to help clean up and that the memory will stick with her forever.
“I thought that memory would fade, but I’m 61 years old, and it never did fade. The pain of November 14th, will stay with me forever.”Cheryll Eaton, Marshall University Class of 1977
“Each year, on the exact same day, at the exact same hour… the water to this fountain is turned off… and in this moment, once every year.. time stands still.”
The silencing of the fountain takes the University back to that tragic day 49 years ago, but come spring the water will flow again, to represent life in resiliency, in one of the greatest comeback stories ever told.
Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of the crash.