The Times West Virginian


December 6, 2013

Miner’s Day: Recognize contributions and sacrifice

We must always recognize the contributions and sacrifice of our nation’s miners.

That’s a message being reinforced today, the fourth annual National Miner’s Day.

The observance was the dream of Fairmont artist Creed Holden, a Doddridge County native who moved to Marion County to attend Fairmont State.

“I learned about the miners themselves, the people who did the actual mining of the coal,” he said. “Their stories tugged at my heartstrings. They worked so hard and were paid too little.”

On Feb. 17, 2006, the West Virginia Legislature completed legislation creating Miner’s Day to “honor each and every miner, past, present and future.”

Then, on Dec. 3, 2009, the U.S. Senate officially passed a resolution making Miner’s Day a commemorative holiday each Dec. 6.

U.S. Reps. Alan Mollohan, D-W.Va., Nick J. Rahall, D-W.Va., and Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and U.S. Sens. Robert C. Byrd and Jay Rockefeller, both D­-W.Va., jointly introduced a resolution in both houses of Congress to support the goals and ideals of a National Miner’s Day.

The date of Dec. 6 was selected because it is the anniversary of the worst industrial accident in American history, in 1907, that took place in Monongah. At least 361 men and boys perished in a devastating mine explosion.

In West Virginia, of course, coal mining is the focus, but today all the nation’s miners are being honored.

Joseph A. Main, the assistant secretary of labor for Mine Safety and Health, stressed this point in a letter sent this week to the Sun Advocate in Utah.

“American miners play a much larger role in our lives than most people realize. They extract a variety of raw materials, such as coal, copper, phosphate, silver, limestone, iron and zinc — ores that are essential components in the products we use every day,” Main said.

“Coal, and the electricity generated by coal power, play prominent roles in our homes, businesses and communities. Miners produce the gravel, crushed stone, tar, asphalt, road salt and cement used to build the roads we travel on and to make them safer. The bridges we build to span canyons and rivers are built with rock and mineral products produced by miners.

“Gold, silver and copper wiring, ceramic insulators, and silicon processing and memory chips are essential components in electronics that we use daily, such as smartphones, computers and televisions.

“Thousands of everyday consumer goods are made with the fundamental materials secured from the hard work of miners. They range from cosmetics to toothpaste, from cookware and dinnerware to appliances.”

There has been plenty of sacrifice along with the contributions of miners. Marion County last month marked the 45th anniversary of the 1968 Farmington mine disaster that took 78 lives.

“It was then that West Virginians finally said enough is enough,” said Mike Caputo, a coal miner who now serves as United Mine Workers District 31 international vice president and as majority whip in the state House of Delegates. “People should not have to go to work worrying about whether they are going to make it home to their families at the end of the day.”

The Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969, and the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 were passed.

Mining is indeed safer but not safe.

As Caputo noted, the 2010 Upper Big Branch Mine explosion in Raleigh County killed 29 miners, and there are on average dozens of mine fatalities each year.

Main said that “through the ‘End Black Lung — Act Now’ initiative and other occupational health efforts, we are making progress in limiting miners’ exposure to respirable dust and other harmful contaminants. While more needs to be done to prevent death, injury and illness in the nation’s mines, our efforts and collaboration with labor and industry stakeholders are showing positive results.”

That progress must never be slowed as we are reminded this Miner’s Day, an occasion to officially mark so many years of contributions and sacrifice that we must never forget.

Text Only
  • If something seems too good to be true, then assume that it is

    Scam. noun. A confidence game or other fraudulent scheme, especially for making a quick profit; swindle.
    This is a word that Marion Countians have heard a lot about in the past few years. And the problem appears to be one that is getting worse every day.

    July 31, 2014

  • State must convince parents, schools about benefits of Common Core

    It’s always nice to have a little bit of background information before diving into something new.
    So we have to agree with West Virginia Board of Education president Gayle Manchin when she says the state should have done a better job of explaining Common Core standards when they were first introduced.
    Those standards, part of a national educational initiative that sets learning goals designed to prepare students in kindergarten through 12th grade for college and career, will be fully implemented in every West Virginia school district next month.

    July 30, 2014

  • Time is now for Tomblin to support King Coal Highway

    U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., is asking Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to add the King Coal Highway project to West Virginia’s six-year highway improvement plan. It is a logical request, and one that Tomblin should act promptly on.

    July 29, 2014

  • United effort to keep NASA in Fairmont is essential project

    The high-technology sector is obviously vital to the economy of North Central West Virginia.
    That’s why a strong, united effort to keep the NASA Independent Verification and Validation Program in Fairmont is absolutely essential.

    July 27, 2014

  • COLUMN: Calling all readers: Be heard

    I love to talk to readers.
    I love to hear concerns they have about stories we’ve written, things they think should be included in the newspaper and things they think shouldn’t be.

    July 27, 2014

  • Korean War veterans are deserving of a memorial

    NEEDED: A total of $10,000 for the Korean War Memorial this year.
    And a good man has been placed in charge of the funding. Charlie Reese, former president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, is now director of the Marion County Development Office. His task was to make a recommendation as to what steps are necessary to keep the project moving.

    July 25, 2014

  • Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives

    It takes up to 100 units of blood to save the life of someone who sustains life-threatening injuries in a vehicle accident.
    We’re hoping that the number of people who come to Fairmont Senior High School on Friday for and American Red Cross blood drive will exceed that amount.

    July 24, 2014

  • Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely

    The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
    It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
    It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.

    July 23, 2014

  • Too many taking too few steps to protect selves from skin cancer

    July 22, 2014

  • Distracted driving: It isn’t worth fine or a life

    Today marks the day that police agencies from six states are joining forces to crack down on one thing — distracted driving.
    And they will focus on that traffic violation for a solid week, with the stepped-up effort to curb distracted driving wrapping up on Saturday, July 26.

    July 20, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Politics
House Ads