Council Pauses in Memory --- Including One of Their Own

by Tony Rutherford HuntingtonNews.Net Reporter
Council Pauses in Memory --- Including One of Their Own

HUNTINGTON, WV (HNN) – Discussion stopped mid-sentence at the Monday, Nov. 14 Huntington City Council meeting. It was not because At large councilman Steve Williams had previously announced that at 7:45 p.m. , he would interrupt anyone speaking.

For four years Williams played on the “young Thundering Herd.” Last night at precisely 7:45 p.m. the Southern Airway jet crashed upon approach to Tri-State Airport. The jet carried administrators, coaches, players, supporters, and flight crew returning on a rainy night from a Thundering Herd loss to East Carolina.

Earlier Monday, waters at the Memorial Fountain facing the Student Center had gone silent until Spring.

“It’s not often that we have a council meeting on the anniversary of the crash,” Williams said, noting it was only the sixth time in the 41 years since the horrific crash. “Our lives were interrupted and changed,” Williams recalled of the moment the Marshall plane went down.

Symbolically, council in Williams words “acknowledged and remembered” the community impact of the tragedy, which took not simply the Thundering Herd’s football team, but a significant portion of community movers and shakers.  City Councilman Murill Ralsten and his wife, Helen, perished in the crash. Councilman Owen Duncan in his words “came within a hair” of joining Ralsten.

Huntington Mayor Robert Hinerman declared a mourning period and flags on city buildings were flown at half mast.

Marshall’s Young Thundering Herd rose from ashes to play, but it took a generation before the memorable “play for champions” era would slowly rise from the won-lost cellar.

One film, “Ashes to Glory” documents the events; “We Are Marshall” commemorates the spirit that prevailed.

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