Coal Miners, Etc. - A Slice of America Forgotten
I originally grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains in South-Western Virginia (not West Virginia), but not far from the life, and times, of the same people who work the coal mines in West Virginia.
In fact, I have relatives that still work the coal mines there.
And let me tell you, I don't envy their profession, because it has the mogul of death hanging around every shift they spend farming under the earth.
It's a job that no one really wants, except the people who have no other opportunity for work. They want to work, and they will do whatever work is available. Period.
Life is tough in small towns all across America, and like most other places, people just want to work -- no matter what the circumstance. They have bills to pay just like everyone else.
If you've never spent any time up in the mountains of West Virginia, then you'll have a really hard time understanding this. I grew up in that area, and I can tell you, the coal miners are a breed apart -- they are loyal people, just trying to make a living, and great Americans.
It's the same in my hometown in Southwestern Virginia -- every time I go back and visit family, I am shocked even more.
Driving down the Main Street, I am shocked on the number of shuttered businesses -- it's almost a ghost town.
Most of the young people have left, and those that haven't are either wrapped up in drugs, in jail, or somewhere in between.
Somehow, I think this is a sad portrait of what is going on in small towns all across this country, and that saddens me greatly.
Granted, I left when I got out of High School -- I consider myself lucky. I joined the military after a few years, and let the "current" take me where it would.
I was lucky.
I got out.
I didn't end up working in the mines.
I am so glad I didn't end up with that as a last resort.
These dead miners are our legacy, folks. If you don't understand the tragedy here, not the death of the lost miners (although that is tragic), but the fact that this is all the opportunity these people have -- then you are missing the bigger picture.
We have entire swaths of communities all across this country that are just squeaking by, barely able to feed their families, pay their rent.
See the bigger picture.
We need to extend our help to each & everyone of them
Are we not brothers & sisters in this maddening mess?
Yes. We Are.
Just a few thoughts.