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August 23, 2012
Memorial honors the lives of miners killed in 2010 explosion

The families of 29 miners who lost their lives in the Upper Big Branch (UBB) mine explosion in April 2010 have dedicated a memorial to their loved ones. Strong public support helped complete the memorial a year ahead of schedule.

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The 48-foot black granite UBB Miners Memorial features life-size reverse silhouettes of the fallen men. Their names are written on the back of the monument, where panels chronicle the history of coal mining in the state.

The opening invocation was offered by State Police Chaplain James Mitchell, who helped comfort family members during rescue efforts. The monument was unveiled by members of the mine rescue teams.

Chuck Mooney, who lost his brother James in the explosion, acknowledged the pain of family members when he said, “I’m a grown man, but I’m not ashamed to cry. He was my baby brother.” The architect who designed the memorial hopes it will permit visitors to learn about the history of the coal industry in West Virginia and to celebrate the lives of miners.

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