HUNTINGTON — Marshall University has placed new banners around campus featuring the faces of people who may not be familiar to current students, but whose legacies helped shape the school, its history and its traditions.
In a project to be completed Friday, 75 banners — each one showing a photograph of one of the 75 victims of the Nov. 14, 1970, plane crash that killed all who were on board — will be hung around the Huntington campus to honor the men and women who did not return from the Thundering Herd’s football game that day at East Carolina University.
Megan Archer, assistant director of communications at Marshall, said the idea came from brainstorming sessions held by the committee of campus leaders tasked with recognizing this year as the 50th anniversary of the tragedy. Archer worked with archives from The Herald-Dispatch as well as the university, and in some cases contacted family members of the victims to get photos of the players, coaches, staff, flight crew and Marshall supporters.
Though she herself is a graduate of Marshall, Archer said she hadn’t let the full scope of the tragedy in before working closely on the project to produce the banners.
“I attended Marshall. I went to the fountain ceremonies. I saw the impact, but didn’t truly feel it,” she said. “When you really delve into a project like this and learn (the victims’) stories, it’s hard not to feel it.”
Information on events and other ways the 75 plane crash victims are being honored this year, as well as all their photographs, are available online at www.marshall.edu/neverforget/.
“I hope it celebrates and remembers them in a way they can appreciate,” she said. “We don’t want people to forget.”
The banners will remain up around campus through the spring.