EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) - The University of Evansville held a memorial service on Thursday to mark the 30th anniversary of an airplane crash that killed 29 people, including the entire men's basketball team.
The team plane, a twin-engine DC-3, crashed in rain and heavy fog on Dec. 13, 1977, shortly after takeoff from Evansville Dress Regional Airport to Murfreesboro, Tenn., for a game against Middle Tennessee State.
``There is never a good time to lose someone you love, but what made this event so hard was the loss of so many lives,'' university president Stephen Jennings said during Thursday's memorial at Neu Chapel.
The Rev. P.T. Wilson, the chaplain at DePauw University and an Evansville alumnus, recalled how as a religion and philosophy student at the time, he helped comfort students and members of the university community.
``We had such an outpouring of support from all over the country, so helpful, of people calling to say they were praying for us,'' Wilson said. ``I discovered there are no answers but rather, in the spiritual journey, you simply walk on.''
Among the crash victims was Purple Aces coach Bob Watson.
Current coach Marty Simmons, then a sixth-grader in nearby Lawrenceville, Ill., recalled how another crash victim, player Mike Duff of Eldorado, Ill., became his role model.
``If there is some small way that the spirit of that team from '77 can burn through our team, we would love to share it,'' Simmons said.
After the service, Jennings and former university president Wallace Graves laid a wreath decorated with purple and white flowers at a crash memorial monument on a campus plaza.
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