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Marshall to do virtual ceremony in fountain memorial of plane crash

Jason Corriher
Marshall Athletics

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Marshall University’s annual spring fountain ceremony, which is a celebration of the rebirth of Marshall football and the Young Thundering Herd, will be a virtual event because of the coronavirus pandemic and campus shutdown.
Marshall’s Director of Athletics, Mike Hamrick, will make remarks and introduce President Dr. Jerome “Jerry” Gilbert in a ceremony that will be recorded and shown across various athletic department and school social media accounts this Saturday at 10 a.m.
The virtual ceremony can be found on social media websites Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and will conclude with the turning on of the memorial fountain in the center of campus. This is not a public event.
“Sadly, the circumstances dictate that we alter our annual ceremony during these difficult times,” Hamrick said.
“This is a tradition in its 11th year and we wanted to come up with a way to celebrate all of the people who came after that devastating day who helped rebuild the Marshall football program and patch together a heartbroken community.
“I want to thank Dr. Gilbert for allowing this to happen and for participating in the virtual ceremony. We hope you enjoy it.”
Huntington Mayor Steve Williams, a former Marshall student-athlete, spoke at last year’s spring fountain ceremony.
The memorial fountain on Marshall’s campus is turned on annually during the ceremony. The gathering is typically different in tone from the annual ceremony held on Nov. 14, the anniversary of the Southern Airways Flight 932 that crashed on that date in 1970.
The tragedy killed all 75 people on board, including 37 members of the Thundering Herd football team.
The focus of Saturday morning’s message will be on the rebuilding of the program in the wake of the tragedy. Hamrick, like Williams, is a former Marshall student-athlete.
The virtual ceremony will take place this Saturday as previously scheduled. This Saturday was to be the annual Green and White spring scrimmage, which was to be the 15th and final practice of spring football drills.
Conference USA suspended spring sport competition on March 12, which delayed the start of Marshall’s spring football practice, scheduled to begin Sunday, March 15.
On March 17, C-USA cancelled all spring sport competition, effectively ending the Thundering Herd’s spring drills before it began.
The Marshall football program is scheduled to open the 2020 season at East Carolina on Saturday, August 29.