Morehouse, Nash respond to plane crash opinion column
Published: Friday, November 16, 2012
Updated: Friday, November 16, 2012 01:11
This is more than my apology letter or attempt at damage control. This is personal; so much so that one of the six boys buried unknown and disfigured in Spring Hill Cemetery is of my own blood.
My name is Bishop Adam Nash, and my uncle Barry Winston Nash was among those killed Nov. 14, 1970. A simple country boy from Point Pleasant, W.Va. no older than my own young self, family legend tells that Barry had a broken hand before the game with East Carolina. He was not required to travel with Marshall, but he did.
I’m not required to write this article, but I am.
Henry Culvyhouse’s column “Time heals all wounds” speaks of current Marshall students not understanding the magnitude of what they’re honoring when Culvyhouse himself can never understand a family’s pain. Fourty-two years after my grandfather drove barefoot to a flaming hillside in Kenova, the sting hasn’t left. Tears rolled out of his wrinkled eyes when I strapped on my #35 Cabell Midland football jersey in honor of the uncle I never met.
Just like you’ll likely never know what it’s like to lose somebody in Marshall’s plane crash, I will never know what it’s like being on the outside looking in.
Reverence to tragedy and pride in reconstruction are not limited to those immediately touched by the crash. This is the burden of everyone in the Marshall and Huntington communities.
Culvyhouse only devoted three sentences in the bottom half of his column to the resilience of those affected. It was not just families and a football program that had to rebuild.
It was all of us.
Coming off the mat after losing a huge part of life is a testament to the tenacity of the human spirit. The process of fighting on into 1971 alone is enough to validate memorial. Like Culvyhouse said, remembering the plane crash has become a tradition every Nov. 14 on campus and around the community.
But we got this tradition in the most horrific of ways, and nothing about that should be forgotten. Even if Marshall never won another football game, at least rising up swinging is enough.
In addition to being a family member, I’m also a Parthenon reporter; of which I am damn proud. In fact I’m not the staff writer to have lost a family member. Sports writer Lake Morehouse will never meet three grandparents who were flying back with the team. Lake wanted share his opinion as well:
“The phrase ‘freedom of speech’ can be exercised in various ways. Sometimes appropriately, and other times not. The “Time heals all wounds” column, chose the latter. As a sports writer for The Parthenon, I understand the first amendment very clearly, however, I do not abuse it. To say Culvyhouse’s column has been controversial would be a drastic understatement.
My mother lost both of her parents on the Marshall plane crash, Dr. and Mrs. Ray Hagley. My father lost his father, Eugene Morehouse, the play-by-play announcer for the Thundering Herd. My Dad’s mother, who did not make the trip to East Carolina, passed away from cancer months before I was born. Unlike many, I have never had the privilege to call someone a grandparent.
I am not seeking sympathy, nor am I entitled to any special treatment, but it is hard for me to sit back and watch something that my family and I hold so dearly be disrespected in such a foul manner.
I can’t begin to even empathize with people who lost immediate loved ones, but throughout my 21 years of life, I have witnessed my family cope with the tragedy they never asked for. Culvyhouse claimed Marshall has struggled with the healing aspect of the tragedy. In my eyes, the university, football program and community have moved past the mourning period. I believe the ceremony has now proudly transitioned into honoring and remembering all that were lost. What is so wrong with that? Absolutely nothing.
In Culvyhouse’s column, he compared the differences between the Marshall plane crash and 9/11, claiming those affected by 9/11 do not dwell like the Huntington community does about Nov. 14, 1970. The difference is, the 9/11 tragedy involved people from all over the world, some who had ties, but many others who did not. What happened on Nov. 14, 1970 was the exact opposite. Nearly everyone involved with the crash was connected in some way. That very connection is the same bond that has kept this tight-knit community inseparable for 42 years.
I am proud to say I am a true son of Marshall, and I will never be embarrassed how this university chooses to honor those who gave their lives to this school.”
Culvyhouse is from the Eastern Panhandle. There is no way he could have seen enough of this community and school to pass a judge that steep. I’ve lived in Ona, W.Va, my entire life. Lake is from Huntington. We don’t just know Marshall, we are Marshall. The Morehouses, Nashes and the entire community will not be told when or when not to remember life-shattering events.