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Remembering Coal Miners

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National Miner's Day is always observed on Dec. 6.

U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., said over the weekend families across the country will turn on Christmas lights, turn up the heat and turn on the television to watch football with friends and family.

He said while doing so, Americans should keep in mind the hardworking coal miners underground, away from the public view and too often away from the public consciousness.

Rahall said those miners will be hard at work providing energy that fuels those moments of comfort for many people across the nation.

"It is the work that miners have been doing for more than two centuries in our great country and their toil and sacrifice has enabled countless advances for our Nation and driven our economy vitality," Rahall said in a statement.

National Miner's Day falls in this month in recognition of "bloody December" in 1907 when more than 600 Appalachian miners lost their lives in less than three weeks.

Although laws, safety inspections and better equipment have made casualty rates across the nation decline among miners, work must continue to prevent tragedies from visiting our coalfield communities, Rahall said.

Twenty coal miners have perished in the mines this year. West Virginian's continue to bear the pain of the tragedies at Upper Big Branch, Aracoma, and Sago, and beyond. We have a solemn duty to protect our miners, both those that have come before us and those who are working underground at this hour.

 "We should honor our miners, not just today, but every day. We should promote life-saving vigilance and work to protect the well-being of our miners long after they've hung up their hardhats for the last time," he said. "And we should recognize the value of our miners to our national economy through policies that keep their jobs secure.

"Without our selfless and dedicated miners, American society would never have flourished, nor would it continue to function. It is fitting, therefore, that we recognize and honor these brave workers who have served our Nation quietly and faithfully for so many years."