For residents of Raleigh County, April 5th is a day of loss, love and remembrance. Twenty-nine men lost their lives to one of the biggest mine disasters in history – the Upper Big Branch Mine explosion.
In 2012, a memorial was resurrected in honor of those men. Every year family, friends, acquaintances and strangers pay their respects, lay wreaths and remember the good times.
Glenda and Peggy are sisters who are visiting the memorial for their nephew and two great nephews who were killed.
“I was there the evening before and ate supper with them and me and Josh sat there and joked and talked to each other and you know, that’s memories that nobody can take,” said Glenda.
But there was one person who couldn’t join them today.
“Linda, our sister, she didn’t last long after that. I honestly think the day those boys got killed, she was never the same, I think she died that day, I really do,” said Peggy.
For Judy, she visited the memorial for her baby brother Ricky who was killed in mine.
“You don’t know how God’s going to work things and put people together, but it helps when someone else knows what you’re going through and has empathy that they know what you’re truly feeling when other people just go about their world,” said Judy.
Through loss of life she makes sure to cherish life daily and the ones who are in it.
“A lot of people, they take things for granted and when you do that, look out because just in a moment of time you can have something today and it be gone tomorrow.”