HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) – People dressed in kelly green lined the plaza outside Marshall University’s Student Center, waiting for the Memorial Fountain to spout water once again.
“From the stillness and the solitude of that November day when everything changed in an instant of time, to today – a new birth in the spring season of life,” Reverend Steve Harvey, Marshall’s football chaplain, said.
Harvey reminded the gathered crowds why the fountain, turned off each November 14 to commemorate the 75 lives lost in a plane crash in 1970, would be turned back on today.
“New hearts, new life, new attitudes and new direction,” Harvey said of the meaning of the tradition.
Cheers erupted from the crowd as the water was turned back on, in an emotional moment for those in the Huntington community and those who came from out of town to live in Huntington or to visit.
“Thinking about the guys that sacrificed and, you know, the guys that passed away and just being able to commemorate and just rejoice in that loss and in the opening of the spring,” Arnold Blackmon, a junior football player, said.
Blackmon, a transfer from Houston, Texas, said he’s come to understand the bigger picture in his time at Marshall.
“It's way more than just the scoreboard,” Blackmon said. “We've got to be able to grow as a team and as a family.”
“We never quit,” Dr. Stephen Kopp, Marshall’s president, said. “When we get knocked down, we get right up. We pick up the pieces and we go on, and we work even harder.”
Visitors like Lisa Fischer, who came from Louisville for the ceremony and the game, said they felt it too.
“I thought it was really inspirational and emotional and it kind of made me wish I'd gone here, actually,” Fischer said, laughing.
After the Fountain Ceremony, the Thundering Herd played its spring football game, the Green and White game, Saturday afternoon.