2011 memorial ZOPE

Team Member of the Young Thundering Herd, Rick Meckstroth delivers the keynote address during the annual memorial service honoring the 75 victims of the 1970 Marshall plane crash on Monday, Nov. 14, 2011, at the Memorial Student Center Plaza on the campus of Marshall University.

HUNTINGTON -- Rick Meckstroth craned his neck a little, looking out at the Marshall University students who had paused in the middle of their busy day and gathered around the Memorial Fountain in the student center plaza.

They likely had studying to do and friends to meet, but there they stood, backpacks over their shoulders and cellphones put away, listening to him speak, hearing through his voice the experience of 41 years ago that was being remembered on Monday.

Meckstroth -- a Huntington businessman and member of the Young Thundering Herd football team of 1971 -- gave the keynote address at Marshall's 2011 Annual Memorial Service, honoring the 75 football players, coaches and supporters who perished in the plane crash on Nov. 14, 1970.

He joined West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, Marshall President Stephen Kopp, Head Football Coach Doc Holliday, Athletic Director Mike Hamrick, Alumni Association President Mickey Jackson and Student Body President Ray Harrell in addressing the crowd on a warm, blustery Monday morning, before the yearly tradition of shutting off the fountain for the winter and laying 75 white roses there to honor those lost.

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