Manchin

Matthew McConaughey, left, and director McG discuss a scene during filming of "We Are Marshall."

By GOV. JOE MANCHIN

HUNTINGTON -- The international premiere of 'We Are Marshall' on Dec. 12 was an incredible night that will forever live in the memory of everyone associated with the Huntington community and those who took part in the premiere festivities and the making of the film.

Marshall President Stephen Kopp and his staff deserve a great deal of credit for their personal touch and care in fostering the development of this major motion picture project. To the families and players of the 1970 and 1971 Marshall University football teams and the family members and friends personally touched by the 1970 tragedy, our state owes these individuals a debt of gratitude for courageously sharing this story of tragedy, triumph and inspiration with the filmmakers and the world.

"We Are Marshall" accurately reflects the deep passion and dedication of the Marshall University and Huntington communities. This film is an honorable portrayal and account of the unique spirit that we as West Virginians share, and is a fitting and lasting tribute that honors the memory of 75 individuals that the Marshall University community lost on Nov. 14, 1970.

In the coming days and weeks, millions of people who were not familiar with the tragic and triumphant tales of the 1970 Marshall University football team and the 1971 Young Thundering Herd will learn their story.

On behalf of our state, I want to personally thank McG, Basil Iwanyk, and the producers, writers, actors and creative team for their care and special touch in telling this story in a very compassionate way that has shown a great deal of respect to the members of the Marshall community and the State of West Virginia. Everyone associated with this movie has become a beloved member of the Marshall community and our West Virginia family, and they will always hold a special place in our hearts.

The beauty of our state and our people truly shines through in every frame of the wonderful portrayal of this inspiring and uplifting story. "We Are Marshall" will bring a new level of national and international interest to Marshall University and our state, and I am confident that it will serve as a catalyst to attract more motion picture production to one of our nation's most scenic and beautiful film locations.

The "We Are Marshall" story is truly a remarkable one -– perhaps one of the greatest tales of perseverance, courage and the spirit of a community and a university determined to succeed and overcome. Thanks to this film, the rest of the world will now know their story.

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State of West Virginia
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