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Marshall Community Marks 43rd Anniversary of Plane Crash

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Marshall University and the Huntington community remembered those who perished in the 1970 plane crash Thursday. The event marked the 43rd anniversary of the crash that killed 75, players, coaches, and members of the university and surrounding communities.

Each year on November 14 members of the Marshall Community gather on plaza surrounding the Memorial Fountain.

This year’s featured speaker was Huntington attorney John Proctor, whose parents were among the victims of the 1970 crash. Proctor was 5 years old when the plane crashed, he was the youngest of five sons and daughters of H.D. “Pete” Proctor and his wife, Courtney Josephine Proctor who were aboard the plane.

“I truly don’t remember anything from November 14th 1970 because I was five-years-old, and in it’s the way the brain is a wonderful thing, it has the ability to filter out those things that you don’t need to remember or suffer through,” Proctor said.

Proctor, along with his six-year-old sister Courtney, 8-year-old sister Patricia, 17-year-old brother Jim and 19-year-old sister Kim had to find a way to go on. Proctor said that would not have been possible without the help of a caring community.

“I was raised by a community, I was raised by Huntington, West Virginia and Marshall University. My parents had created enough good will and had made enough friends that the people in this community and I believe anyone that you speak to and any of the children that survived this will tell you that this community took us in and they made sure that we were doing the right things,” Proctor said.

Proctor received both a bachelors and masters from Marshall University in history before going on to law school. Proctor said the only way to get through tough times is to depend on others.

“What’s important is how you recover and you have to get the lesson from that, that you need to be able to swallow your pride and lean on others and look to the community and look to your family for support to help you and you can rise above it and you can come back and be even stronger,” Proctor said.

Marshall President Stephen Kopp said it’s always amazing to hear the stories how the community joined together to make it through such a tough time.

“We chose to pick up the pieces both individually and collectively and find a way to not only go on with our lives, but to rise. But to rise and elevate this university and our community to levels most people thought were not possible,” Kopp said.

At the end of each year’s ceremony the water to the fountain is shut off.


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