The following is an emotional account from the family member of an Upper Big Branch victim.
For politicians who have never worked a day in the mines, today is another day to “honor” the victims of Upper Big Branch, to speak to the sacrifices of all coal miners, to empathize with the families for their losses, all fort he underlying purpose of gaining votes. They must be careful though, they must teeter upon the dangerous edge of consoling the public without crossing the line and losing campaign contributions from the coal industry.
The watered down safety legislation following the disaster, legislation that does everything but give coal miners the power to shut down a dangerous operation without fear of job loss, is evidence that nothing has truly changed.
The hearts of the coal company executives are still as cold as the marble monuments naming the fallen. a monument that it my eyes, does little to honor the men they sacrificed for profit, so much as it reminds me of the heartless greed of their “business.”
For me, this anniversary calls to question what has happened to our Appalachia.
What has caused us to support the coal industry and the politicians on its payroll, to become “Friends of Coal?” Why do we chant and rally for those who have taken so much from us? Why aren’t we fighting for a future in which our children will never again have to face such anguish at the hands of greed driven coal companies?
Let us continue to pray for those who are walking to the gravesides of their loved ones.