Miners� Day push

WHILE many may not have known it, a movement for West Virginia miners and miners everywhere was made in 2006 – the establishment of Miners’ Day as a commemorative holiday each and every forthcoming December.
Miners’ Day push Miners’ Day push Miners’ Day push Miners’ Day push Miners’ Day push

 

Donna Schmidt

Published in the March 2007 American Longwall Magazine

“The official date in West Virginia is set on December 6, but people can commemorate it on any day they choose,” said Creed Holden, who was heavily involved in getting the day recognized.

The day was chosen to commemorate the Monongah mine disaster in 1907, which Holden said is known as the worst mining disaster in US history with an official death toll of 362 – though it is possible that more than 500 individuals lost their lives.

Now, a century later, Holden said: “I hope that Miners’ Day will let the mining community know that they are appreciated, honored and remembered by the rest of society. I also hope that this will be a day when miners of all associations, professions and mineral resources are recognized.”

The road to recognition began with West Virginia delegate Linda Longstreth, who sponsored and presented a joint resolution at the House of Delegates. While calling himself a “catalyst” for the cause, Holden said success wouldn’t have been realized without the many people who signed the online petition he established for others to share their support.

Once the petition was live, the process was swift, he said. It entered the House of Delegates February 1 last year, was adopted 12 days later, and the very next day was introduced in the Senate. Just two days later, the Senate had also adopted the resolution.

With any luck, Holden and other Miners’ Day advocates will in the future see a day of national recognition for miners throughout the country and the world, and his optimism knows no bounds. “How about an ‘International Year of the Miner’ sponsored by the United Nations?”

In the meantime, Holden said those in support of having a national Miners’ Day should contact US Senators Robert C Byrd and Jay Rockefeller to share their thoughts. While Holden said he sent both letters referring to the idea, neither of them have committed to it as yet.

To continue promoting the day and keep the hard work of miners fresh in everyone’s mind, a group of individuals led by Roy L Cooke worked last December to develop the Miners’ Day Foundation. Cooke, known for his contributions to the industry, now serves as president of the foundation, a private and non-profit organization.

In addition to the creation of a scholarship and educating the public about the positives of mining and public mining history, the foundation is seeking to construct a group of bronze monument sculptures to mark West Virginia’s mining history and its “history and diversity” in the last 150 years.

“Miners provide the elemental and mineral resources that, both figuratively and literally, help create the commodities, the foundations and the structures upon which people rely,” Holden said. “Just take a few minutes to analyze almost anything around you, and you will find that, in some way, a miner of some kind has been involved.”

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