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Virtual Ceremony to Remember the 52nd Anniversary of the Farmington Mine Disaster



November 15, 2020 - A memorial service to remember 68 miners who died 52 years ago in West Virginia will be held virtually this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The United Mine Workers of America announced in a news release the service for the Farminngton disaster will be conducted at 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 15, on the UMWA’s Facebook page and on the union’s YouTube Channel.


Smoke billows at the scene of the Farmington mine disaster in 1968.

Photo: West Virginia Archives

A ceremony is held each year to remember those who died in 1968 at the Consolidation Coal No. 9 mine in Marion County.

“We would much rather be together on this day of remembrance,” UMWA International President Cecil Roberts said. “But it would be irresponsible to put so many people at risk of contracting COVID-19, especially elderly family members and others who come to this event every year.”

Roberts said the virtual ceremony will still honor “those who lost their lives on that terrible day and remember the determination that arose from that tragedy to ensure that something like this would never happen again.”

Nineteen of those coal miners' bodies would never be recovered, and the tragedy spurred Congress to pass the coal mine health and safety act in 1969.