EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSUBB MEMORIAL DEDICATION
from Eyewitness News Online
Families Of UBB Victims See Monument Unveiled, Dedicated
Reported by: Leslie Rubin
Videographer: Brad Rice
Web Producer: Leslie Rubin
Reported: Jul. 27, 2012 6:10 PM EDT
Updated: Jul. 27, 2012 6:33 PM EDT
Whitesville , Boone County , West Virginia
More than two years after 29 men died in the Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster, a memorial to them in unveiled.
"We continue today, two years after the tragedy of the Upper Big Branch coal mine explosion, we continue with our heads held high after this tragedy not because of these pieces of granite that stand behind me because of what we know that each one of these pieces of granite represent," said West Virginia State Police Trooper Chaplain Jim Mitchell.
A day of sadness and remembrance for so many lives lost, but a day to come together and honor the 29 men taken on April 5, 2010.
"I think it's harder now than it has been the whole time," says Michelle McKinney. Harder for her because every day memories are made without her dad, Benny Willingham. Now she has a place to share those memories with him.
"I'm sure he's smiling down on us today. We shouldn't be here but we are and that's just the way it is," she says.
Other are still angry and trying to cope.
"It's hard to come here and look at a piece of rock with their pictures on it, when they should be standing here and I should be able to talk to him. This should have never happened," said Clay Mullins. His brother Rex died at UBB.
"This is not a tombstone. This sight is not a graveyard. This is an opportunity. This site is an opportunity to learn, not only about the rich heritage and the long history of the coal industry in the state of West Virginia. It's an opportunity to celebrate. Celebrate the natural beauty of this great state, and the hard working people that call it home. And it's an opportunity to remember. Remember the 29 men we lost April 5, 2012 but we're also going to remember all the coal miners who's sacrificed so much to keep their families fed, this state alive, and the lights of so many turned on," said designer Rob Dinsmore.
The memorial was created by the Upper Big Branch Mining Memorial Group who has been working since February 2011 to raise the money needed to make the dedication a reality.
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