Monday, January 30, 2023

Sunshine memorial ceremony is Sunday

by Jann Higdem
| April 30, 2010 9:00 PM

BIG CREEK - The 38th annual Memorial Ceremony of the Sunshine Mine fire disaster is scheduled at 11 a.m. Sunday at the Sunshine Miners' Memorial Statue, east of Kellogg.

The lives of every single person in the Silver Valley, and the entire mining industry, were forever changed on May 2, 1972 - miners and rescuers, businesses supporting the mining industry, and even schools where many children suddenly lost their daddies, uncles and grandpas. Everyone knew someone who had perished.

It was a time where everyone had to try to be strong, for themselves and for each other. Mining itself was also changed. Until that day, no one had ever thought that a hard rock mine could catch on fire. A new governmental agency was quickly formed (Mine Safety & Health Administration) to try to prevent such a tragedy from ever occurring again.

As those who were affected move on with their lives to different parts of the country, once a year many will journey back to the statue to remember this day and their loved ones.

Guest speaker Bob Delbridge, who lost three family members in the fire, will say a few words Sunday. Les Wood will also speak, regarding his father who was also lost in the fire. Musical selections will be heard throughout the program.

There will be 91 chairs facing the audience, and arranged according to levels the miners were found on. Each chair will have the name of one miner who perished, an illuminated hard hat similar to what they wore, and a short biography. As each name is read, their hard hat light will be extinguished.

One special hat will be prominently placed and lit until completion of the ceremony. It symbolizes our respect and appreciation of the miners from the many Mine Rescue units, who gave selflessly and unrelentingly to save their brothers.

All are welcome to attend the ceremony. Take Exit 54 off Interstate 90.

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