HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) – Marshall University has been working for the last year on ways to commemorate the devastating plane crash that killed 75 people 50 years ago this Saturday, Nov. 14.
This morning, the university is rededicating the “Marshall Football Memorial” statue at its new home next to the Recreation Center on 20th Street across from the Joan C. Edwards Stadium. The ceremony starts at 10 a.m., and is being live-streamed due to the pandemic.
For nearly half a century, the statue was outside PIKE, Pi Kappa Alpha, house. The original artist, Vernon Howell, dedicated it to the five brothers of the fraternity that played for Marshall and lost their lives in the crash. But last year when there was a threat the statue would go into storage, a movement started to restore the statue and find its new home on 20th Street.
The piece was restored by Michael Sizemore of the Mountain Art Works studio and returned to campus last week.
“Anything in front of a frat house is always kind of cool, but you know, the majority of the students that will be walking out the football field checking out the game, they might walk by this and rub the helmet for good luck, you know. And I think that is a special thing when you are tying in what happened with the past, the history of the football team to know it gets the people inspired and excited for a football game and you know what else could you ask for,” Sizemore said.
Although it started as a memorial for the fraternity it has turned into a sign of hope for the entire Marshall community.