On this day ten years ago, thirteen men were still trapped following the explosion that rocked their mine over 28 hour before. Rescue efforts were in a state of disarray. The company, and many politicians, were busy doing damage control in front of the press to preserve their image.
But the men, those men who just went to work one morning to earn a living for their families, were facing the knowledge that they may never see their loved ones again. Being Appalachian family men, there is little doubt that their final moments of anguish—their final moments of fear—were not for their own souls, but for their families and the suffering they would endure in their absence.
I cannot imagine their final hours; I cannot imagine the physical and mental suffering they endured.
Some people may say that coal mining is just a job with risks. Some people say that coal is all we’ve got, that it’s a job to take pride in. But there is one thing that has always been true. It’s a job that has never left the coal miner with their health. Today, it’s even leaving miners in poverty, without healthcare and without a pension.
These are not the rewards coal miner’s should be given for providing cheap energy and steel to a wasteful nation.