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Tragedy brings unity

“We Are Marshall” is more than just a battle cry at sporting events. It’s more than just the name of a movie staring Matthew McConaughey.

It’s more than just letters on a T-shirt.

For the residents of the Tri-State, “We Are Marshall” will always be a powerful axiom rooted, in part, in tragedy, but one which has grown into a beautiful and unifying force for the community.

This Saturday marks the 45th anniversary of the night that 37 Marshall University football players, eight coaches, 25 fans, and five crewmembers died after their plane crashed into a hillside in Wayne County, West Virginia, on Nov. 14, 1970.

In keeping with its longstanding tradition, Marshall will have its annual memorial ceremony at 10 a.m. at the fountain at the Memorial Student Center Plaza in which the fountain will be silenced until next spring.

Stephen Ward will be the guest speaker. His father, Parker Ward, a Marshall booster, died in the crash.

The solemn ceremony is a reminder that from great tragedy, hope can spring anew. It is also a reminder of the power one community has when it stands together, each person supporting one another. We are Marshall.

Later on Saturday, the Thundering Herd will take on the Florida International University Panthers in hopes to remember its greatest tragedy with a victory.