CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Dozens of mines across three states were idled yesterday as West Virginia honored 29 coal miners who died in an explosion a year ago.
“We’re here today to observe the sacrifice of 29 men,’’ acting Governor Earl Ray Tomblin said after laying a wreath at the state coal miners’ memorial on the Capitol grounds. The wreath of yellow roses was adorned with a black banner saying, “From a grateful people.’’
“Keep the miners’ families in our prayers as we go through the rest of the day,’’ Tomblin said.
The small service was the first in a series of public and private events marking the first anniversary of the explosion. Others are planned for a Beckley church and an elementary school some 8 miles from the site of the blast.
“We’re a small community and so everybody knew somebody who was involved directly or indirectly,’’ said Mick Bates, who is helping organize a public memorial in Beckley. Organizers are asking people to wear stripes on their clothing to mimic the reflective tape that miners wear underground.