HUNTINGTON -- Myrtle and Scott Archer were there nearly 36 years ago, and they're there now.

Walking into their business, Archer's Flowers, feels like stepping through those decades and beyond. Family mementos and photographs cover the walls, and a hardwood-case flower cooler from 1928 is affectionately referred to as "kind of like a member of the family," by Scott Archer.

Owner and vice president of the business, he was a Marshall University freshman when the chartered Southern Airways jet carrying Marshall's football team crashed near Tri-State Airport in 1970. Aboard the plane were two of his fraternity brothers, as well as both parents of another fraternity brother.

Scott Archer's mother, Myrtle, made bows for the floral arrangements of many of the crash victims. More than three and a half decades later, she's made similar ones for a funeral scene in "We Are Marshall," the Warner Bros. Pictures' film.

Scheduled to be shot today, the funeral scene will be closed to the news media and the public, according to Ernie Malik, unit publicist for the movie.

While both Myrtle and Scott Archer are overjoyed about the movie, much less getting to contribute to it, they said the actual event remains haunting and real.

"It was business, but it was business you didn't want to do," Scott Archer said. "It just was very overwhelming."

Archer's Flowers will contribute nearly 30 pieces to today's scene, including a Styrofoam Marshall "M" comprised of white pom-pom mums outlined in green. A similar "MU"; square arrangement has been made for placement on an easel. Scott Archer said both are similar to decorations used in a funeral service at the Memorial Field House following the crash.

"We're trying to duplicate that and pretty much give it our best shot and do the best we can," he said.

The staff of Archer's Flowers, made up of six full-time and three part-time employees, also has been busy preparing casket sprays of white roses with green ribbons, as well as several multi-colored silk arrangements. The live flower arrangements have required about three days of preparation, Scott Archer said.

He added that delivering the arrangements today will require about six van loads.

"It's a lot of planning," Scott Archer said. "We've all pitched in to help."

He said he has enjoyed working with Meg Everist, set decorator for "We Are Marshall," as well as others associated with the movie, including meeting actor Matthew McConaughey on Saturday at the Marshall Hall of Fame Café restaurant.

"He was genuinely nice," Scott Archer said. "(The movie) is an honor. It's something you thought would never happen."

While floral designs have evolved since 1970, so has the selection of flowers. Scott Archer said arrangements from that era mainly consisted of mums, gladiolus, roses, carnations and daisies.

Founded in 1920 by William Spriggs Archer, Scott Archer's grandfather, Archer's Flowers has witnessed many such changes during its history. But the face of grief -- replaced by a sense of excitement about Hollywood's portrayal of a heart-wrenching event -- has been a constant.

"It's something you never get over, but I think it's so neat they're doing a movie about it," Scott Archer said.

 

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