A few friends re-posted the article below on Facebook and it spurred my thoughts on a subject near and dear to my heart.
There are some miners who think only of themselves, who take the paychecks and say “I’m a proud coal miner, with a proud heritage,” then spit hatred towards anyone who says anything negative about their beloved coal industry. Of course, I should put much of the last statement in the past tense because that “beloved” coal industry has done exactly what I’ve expected, they’re pulling up stakes and leaving us with nothing—again. But hey, at least they have the common decency to ask for millions of dollars in bonuses for their CEOs while they strip their aging coal miners of their pensions and healthcare benefits. That last sentence was loaded with sarcasm if you couldn’t tell.
Then there are the miners willing to do what’s right regardless of the personal consequences. They are the true coal miners—and sadly they are disappearing.
Many were full of union blood and would stand up for their fellow miners against the company’s greed. They weren’t perfect, they weren’t sacred angels cast in brilliant white light, but they knew the difference between right and wrong and they did their best to stop profit seekers from harming their fellow Appalachians. They understood there were some things money couldn’t buy, and that big paychecks were never worth the honor and integrity they’d lose to keep them.
By the way. Such honor and integrity only comes from sacrificing to do the right thing for EVERYONE, not just you and your family.
When it comes down to it, I have to wonder about many of the miners who made up this last generation. I have to wonder where there hearts were. Had they handed them over when they put the “Friends of Coal” license plates on their trucks? Had they locked their conscious away in a safety deposit box when they yelled at people, “If you don’t like the coal dust, then MOVE!”
Of course, nothing is ever final. Redemption is still possible.
Which side are you on?