HUNTINGTON - Marshall University running back Anthony Anderson had several big carries Saturday for the Thundering Herd in Saturday's 42-17 win over Middle Tennessee.
However, the sophomore from Eden Prairie, Minn., saved his biggest carry for Monday afternoon.
Anderson was one of many Marshall football players who carried a rose to the Marshall Memorial Fountain in honor of the 75 members of the Marshall football family who lost their lives in the plane crash of Southern Airways Flight 932 on Nov. 14, 1970.
Anderson's rose was one of 75 laid out on the base of the fountain as a symbol of respect. Each rose represents one person who lost their life in the plane crash.
For Anderson, the 46th anniversary of the crash represented the first time he had been to the fountain ceremony, and it held a special place in his heart - one that has given him a new perspective not felt before.
"Everything that this community has been through is just crazy," Anderson said. "I've never been part of anything like that, so just to get that experience is once in a lifetime. I wouldn't change that experience for the world."
Anderson was one of several players who experienced the annual memorial service for the first time.
They saw people come together and circle the Marshall Memorial Student Center plaza to be part of a tradition. They also got to hear the story of Dennis Foley, who was on the 1970 team, but did not make the trip for the Nov. 14, 1970, game at East Carolina.
Foley spoke vividly of his own personal experience - something he had never done before - and how it affected his life then and now. Foley's experience included getting off the elevator at his dorm and being told by two students there had been a crash at Tri-State Airport, so they turned around and went toward the crash site.
He spoke about calling his mother collect to explain the situation, which she was unaware of, and how that turned out to be a blessing because Foley, a New Jersey native, had been listed among the dead, which led reporters to call his family inquiring about their deceased son.
For Marshall's younger players, it was an eye-opening experience.
They had been told the unique story of Marshall football during their recruiting process and had gone on the preseason team run to Spring Hill Cemetery to hear more.
"For the younger guys, I feel like it's a great opportunity to fully understand the '75' and what putting that sticker on your helmet really means because you look around and you see family, you see friends, you see everybody who lost someone," Marshall center Levi Brown said. "To actually put the pieces together and see what it means to this community is just something that you have to see and be a part of to get a real feeling for it."
Anderson said that after experiencing Monday's events that putting the jersey on and wearing the 'M' on the side of his helmet will have added meaning as he goes through the rest of his Marshall career, and he expects a similar effect on other teammates.
"It means a lot more," Anderson said. "It just means so much more. I couldn't explain it. It's like chills. It's crazy."