I watched a Thursday night college football game two weeks ago with my husband. He is an ex-college football player and a Vietnam Veteran and during that game, some stark similarities became apparent. The game was Marshall College, South Carolina, a small, private school, against Toledo, another small college. It was a good, close game and extremely spirited.
I noticed in the stands of the Marshall team, big signs saying “From Ashes to Glory”, “From Flames to Victory”. I thought it puzzling until half time when they did a story about the 75 people on their team that died in a plane crash in 1970 along with the school’s radio commentator and other athletic personnel. The accident occurred close to the stadium at night on their return from a game.
They are changing the name of the road parallel to the stadium to Marshall Memorial Drive and dedicating a beautiful bronze statue next year for the 30-year anniversary of the accident. This statue looks almost like the Marines on Mt. Seribachi on Iwo Jima holding up the American Flag. It has four football players in action standing on a bed of ï¬‚ames. It reminded me of how veterans of war cling together even years after and the incredible bond they endure with each other for a lifetime. The similarity of an act of war to an aviation disaster is quite compelling. The bond of people who sustain this kind of horriï¬c trauma is unique and lifelong. It is through their coming together to form groups involved in support, safety issues, research, etc. that much progress is being made not only to inform the public, but to inï¬‚uence change within the industry. I think it is a very wonderful tribute to these people.
Barbara Skudlarick, WA, retired ï¬‚ight attendant, survivor of DC-10 ï¬‚ight from Caracas to New York, December, 1961