December 6, 2013 marked the fourth annual National Miner’s Day. According to the U.S. Department of Labor Mine Safety and Health Administration web site, Congress created this day in remembrance of the 1907 Monongah coal mine disaster, the worst industrial accident in American history which killed 362 miners.
The Proclamation designates this date ‘in appreciation, honor and remembrance of the accomplishments and sacrifices of the miners of our Nation; and encourages the people of the United States to participate in local and national activities celebrating and honoring the contributions of miners.’
Mining isn’t just about coal. It’s a significant source of raw materials found in many products and infrastructure that we use every day. Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health, explains in a statement issued on National Miner’s Day:
“American miners play a much larger role in our lives than most people realize. They extract a variety of raw materials, such as coal, copper, phosphate, silver, limestone, iron and zinc — ores that are essential components in the products we use every day. Coal, and the electricity generated by coal power, play prominent roles in our homes, businesses and communities. Miners produce the gravel, crushed stone, tar, asphalt, road salt and cement used to build the roads we travel on and to make them safer. The bridges we build to span canyons and rivers are built with rock and mineral products produced by miners.
“Gold, silver and copper wiring, ceramic insulators, and silicon processing and memory chips are essential components in electronics that we use daily, such as smartphones, computers and televisions. Thousands of everyday consumer goods are made with the fundamental materials secured from the hard work of miners. They range from cosmetics to toothpaste, from cookware and dinnerware to appliances.”
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) also released a statement on December 6 encouraging West Virginians to show appreciation for our miners and mining families on National Miner’s Day:
“Today on National Miner’s Day, we honor and celebrate the bravest and most patriotic men and women I have ever met in my life. You can’t talk about coal without talking about coal miners. My own family first came to America to work in the mines. Growing up in the small coal-mining town of Farmington, I saw just how proud and courageous all the miners were. The fact is they deserve the same respect as our military veterans – because they go down into the mines for the same reasons that our veterans took up arms. It’s not just a job – it’s a calling, a way of life, even an act of patriotism in the defense of this great country. I have always fought for and pledge to continue to fight for coal, and I hope that our miners know that as long as there’s coal to mine, I will proudly stand by their side. I urge all West Virginians today to show appreciation for our hardworking miners and the mining families of this great state and our nation.”
To learn more about National Miner’s Day or to show your support, Visit their facebook page.