HUNTINGTON -- The Nov. 14, 1970, plane crash and the making of the "We Are Marshall" movie are two events etched in the minds of people forever.

On Tuesday, Marshall University officials unveiled an exhibit at the Marshall Hall of Fame Café, 857 Third Ave., to serve as a visible reflection on two of Huntington's most historic times.

"There are a lot of people that came together for the common goal, which was to celebrate the making of the movie and commemorate this terrible disaster that occurred in 1970," Marshall University President Stephen Kopp said.

Months of planning meetings between university officials, Warner Bros. and the College Football Hall of Fame made Tuesday's unveiling possible.

The exhibit was on display at the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind., from November 2007 to May 2008, but few people from the Tri-State were able to access it because it was seven hours away.

"The College Hall of Fame display was really a special thing and they wanted to do it, but again too, it's South Bend, Ind. We're in Huntington, W.Va.," Marshall athletic director Bob Marcum said. "To bring memorabilia back to a place where people can have access to it is really important and I'm glad that the space was allocated so that the exhibits could be seen."

Red Dawson, who was an assistant coach during the 1970 season and also had a large part in the making of the movie, wasn't able to view the exhibit in South Bend.

Dawson spoke of his excitement after seeing some of his own personal items, including a scrapbook and team shirt, on display.

"I think it's an interest to all of Huntington, especially to the families and those closer to the team than some others," Dawson said. "It's a real credit to Marshall University what all has gone on and I'm proud to be a part of it."

While the exhibit allows Tri-State patrons to reflect on the plane crash and the making of the movie, Kopp said it's just as important that visitors from other areas have a reference to learn the history of the university and community.

"When people come to Huntington who have seen the movie, but are not familiar with Marshall University or the historic aspects of what happened in 1970 with the plane crash, they want to see this," Kopp said. "This now becomes another point, if you will, on the tour of the university that commemorates the events...

"We had people here for the memorial service in November from all over the country who had never been to Marshall University or had no connection to Marshall except that they saw the movie, looked back in history to become more familiar with the tragedy and they simply wanted to be here. I think that is something you will see on a continuing basis every year."

Marshall University director of athletic development Sam Stanley said Warner Bros. is allowing use of the memorabilia on a year-by-year basis according to the community's interest in the display.

The exhibit, open to the public from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. daily, contains newspaper clippings and photos from the 1970 season as well as photos from and props used in the making of the movie.


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