The Sago Mine tragedy continues to prompt many letters to the Gazette.nnnEditor:The tragic events at the Sago mines saddened all West Virginians as well as those in our nation who appreciate what coal mining means to us. Of course, we all fervently wish it would have had the joyous ending that for a few false hours we all believed was reality.Our governor and his wife have often said that in our small and intimate state we are family. We all know that in times of death, good people, family and friends demonstrate solace, share pain and pull together.I thank Gov. Joe Manchin and first lady Gayle Manchin for the decency and compassion they showed to both the victims’ families and to the lone survivor’s family. To the Manchins, they were just doing the right thing — but that itself is a testament to their character and integrity. Their actions proved the truth of their convictions and softened ever so slightly the terrible blow this disaster placed on the psyches of people who care.Bob Henry BaberMayor, RichwoodnnnEditor:I am a lifelong resident of West Virginia, the daughter of a proud West Virginia coal miner and proud of being part of a coal-mining family. My heart is heavy with grief for the families of the men who gave their lives in the depths of the earth while working to provide for their families.As a child, I watched my father wake in the wee hours of the morning (never with a complaint) to face a new day of fighting with nature to have her give up her precious treasure, no matter the temperature.
I would pack his lunch in a box stained with coal dust. Inside I would put notes to him to let him know that I loved him. I knew his job had its dangers and I tried not to take him for granted and to let him know his dedication was appreciated. I remember these things with teary eyes and pride in knowing that my daddy loved us that much.The families of these men will always share similar memories. The world is in need of more of the hardworking hearts that existed within these men. I am sure their loss will be felt within the community for years to come.Lisa Weaver
CharlestonnnnEditor:I just want all miners and their families to know that so many of us are praying for them. My husband works in the oilfield, so I understand to some point sending a loved one off to work at a job that can be dangerous, although I think in some ways the job of a miner can possibly be more so. My heart hurts for you all and my whole church will continue saying prayers for you all. Try to be strong and always remember their love for you. May God bless you all.
April GrahamMarshall, Texas
nnnEditor:I do not reside in West Virginia, but nonetheless am saddened by the tragic yet preventable deaths of the miners there. Your article cites the Bush administration’s callous efforts to reduce mine safety. It raises a question to me as to whether folks there will remember this come Election Day and hold all public officials accountable for their inactions. In my own home state, we battle this administration on a day-to-day basis as they try to undermine our standard of living, shift our jobs overseas and redistribute our taxes to the wealthy. A step in the right direction of all working families is to put this disgraceful administration on notice that the lives of hardworking Americans matter. We are not cattle; we are not tools that corporate America can just throw away when they have no need for us any longer. We are human beings. Why is a life in the womb worth protecting, but, once grown, not worth protecting at the bottom of a mine?Carl Sanchez Jr.Petaluma, Calif.nnnEditor:I am from Parkersburg and I am devastated at what happened. All my prayers are going out to the family and friends. My sister and I live in Colorado Springs, and our hearts are with them in every way because West Virginia people are connected, no matter where they live. God be with the families and friends.If anybody ever needs any help, please let them know my name is:Dee (Beatty) BrassfieldColorado Springs, Colo.nnnEditor:All seven children of my coal miner father are college graduates and more. I have a medical degree because he insisted that we not follow in his path. He was brilliant, the most brilliant man I have ever met, and now I know the bravest. My heart breaks for the miners in Tallmansville. I know they must have been giants just like my father, who died from black lung disease, a slow, horrifying, smothering death from the coal dust in the mines. It was a tragedy to watch and I have still not recovered 10 years later.I am so sorry for your loss. I know that nothing can ever bring solace. Time lessens the pain a bit, but not much. You all are special people — strong and self-reliant and honest and caring beyond belief. You will get through this even stronger. Watching this on TV, I only wanted to say how much I miss West Virginia and how much I love the beautiful people who live there, especially the coal miners. They are my heart and family. God bless you all!Rhonda BrennanNashville, Tenn.