‘We Are Marshall’ on Kaua‘i

WAIPOULI — Dave Saunders is going to find out if there are more than four “We Are Marshall” shirts on Kaua‘i.

Saunders and his family were finishing dinner before heading out for the debut of the “We Are Marshall” film Friday evening. Wife Beverly and stepchildren Daniel and Georgia DeGracia, all wearing Marshall green, were included in his entourage.

“We ordered them online through Marshall,” Saunders said. “I told Daniel, ‘We’re going to see if we have the only four Marshall shirts on Kaua‘i.’”

Saunders was a freshman in high school 36 years ago when a plane crash took the life of 52 members of the Thundering Herd football team, as well as some of the university’s leading boosters, top administrators and city officials.

“We had just finished our football season,” Saunders said. “But the school called a special assembly for a memorial and the coach re-issued our jerseys so we could wear them at the memorial assembly.”

Saunders’ family lived about 25 miles away from where the plane crashed. The next day, his dad took the family to visit the site where 75 people died — the worst sports disaster in U.S. history.

Saunders’ aunt, Jean Kilgore, was an art professor at Marshall at the time.

Saunders, who is currently a safety officer with Monsanto, said he’s been following the creation of the film depicting the plane crash and its repercussions, as well as memorials to the tragedy.

“My family bought me a documentary about the incident from Wal-Mart and it’s pretty accurate,” Saunders said.

He was a little anxious to see the film. Saunders also remembers that during the dedication of a memorial, someone left a six-page letter with a message to “Do it right.”

“He’s going to take a picture of us in front of the movie poster and send it to a newspaper in West Virginia,” Georgia DeGracia said.

Saunders said he just wants people to know the rippling effect an event can have on the world.

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