UBB memorial to be dedicated this month

ORGANIZERS of the long-awaited Upper Big Branch Miners memorial in southern West Virginia said the monument and entrance sign were being installed ahead of a planned dedication ceremony on July 27.
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The UBB Miners Memorial

Donna Schmidt

Upper Big Branch Miners Memorial Group vice-president Mike Gwinn confirmed the first of six granite segments for the 48-foot monument were delivered from Vermont on Tuesday, and projected the work would be completed Thursday.

The monument, he said, was made from “American Black” granite from a Pennsylvania quarry and would include the life-size silhouettes of 29 miners standing shoulder to shoulder below an engraving of the West Virginia state seal.

Beneath the miners’ feet reads the phrase “Come to me, all you who labor, and I will give you rest” and the reverse details the state’s rich coal history.

Gwinn confirmed the date of the ceremony and noted that it will be open to the public. He did not provide a start time for the event.

The UBB Miners Memorial Group raised about $US700,000 to develop the site and the money left over after its completion would be earmarked for park upkeep, the site’s website presence and a planned scholarship fund.

About $250,000 of the money raised was contributed by Alpha Natural Resources, which purchased former UBB mine owner Massey Energy last June.

On April 4, the eve of the blast’s two-year anniversary, Alpha announced it would permanently close UBB.

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