Tonight I weep for the miner's families in West Virgina who have lost
loved ones in this latest mine disaster.
According to reports, lots of major safety violations that were not
corrected at this mine.
Due to the current political environment, that doesn't surprise me.
They don't call this place "West By God" for nothing.
Less than 2 million people inhabit this state.
Proud people live here, most trapped here by economics as well as a love
of the place they call home.
Most are destined to work the mines.
There are few other jobs that will support a family.
I once called on the mines, both deep and strip.
Got as close as the entrance, which was close enough.
Don't think I would have had the guts to go down into the mine.
As far as strip mining is concerned, take a look at a typical drag line,
say "Little Egypt" which has operated in SE Ohio for years.
What the strip mines have done to the once fertile lands of SE Ohio, is
quite another matter.
When the news came in that all but one miner had perished, it brought
back memories of times past.
From 1946-1950, We were returning to a peace time economy, Truman was
president, John L Lewis was the bushy eyebrowed leader of the United
Mine Workers, and reports of miners being trapped down in a mine were
Pennsylvania, West Virgina, Kentucky, Southern Illinois, the location
made no difference, they all claimed miners.
The results were predictable. The miners bodies were recovered, seldom
People would then forget about the disaster, and put another shovel of
coal on the fire.
During this period, coal was king. It was the energy source of choice.
Steam engines were still in service on the railroads.
Steam power was used to generate electricity as well as operate
During this time, my father was a boiler fireman. He shoveled a lot of coal.
John L Lewis would take the miners out on strike, Truman would employ
Sooner or later, a new contract was signed.
Meanwhile, the miners continued to be screwed.
Back then, the "Company Store" still flourished.
Under ground mining was and still is one of the most dangerous jobs on
It is now almost 60 years later and not much seems to have changed.
When will they ever learn, when will they ever learn as the line from
the protest song goes.