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Disaster At The Mannington Mine

Hazel Dickens
Lingua: Inglese


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[1969]
Lyrics & Music by Hazel Dickens


[1968]‎




Alle 5.30 del 20 novembre del 1968 un pozzo di una miniera di carbone situata tra Farmington e ‎Mannington, Marion County, West Virginia, saltò in aria con un’esplosione che fu udita molte ‎miglia più lontano. Dei 99 minatori che si trovavano in quelle gallerie solo 21 riuscirono a trarsi in ‎salvo, gli altri 78 morirono nelle viscere della terra, ridotti come il carbone che scavavano. Ci ‎vollero più di 10 anni per riportare in superficie i resti di quei poveretti…una ventina di corpi non ‎furono mai nemmeno più ritrovati… ‎
La deflagrazione era stata così devastante che neppure fu possibile capire esattamente da cosa fosse ‎stata provocata… Quel che fu chiaro è che il livello di sicurezza in cui i minatori erano costretti a ‎lavorare erano pressochè pari a zero. Con un intervento un po’ tardivo, almeno per quei 78 morti ‎ammazzati, il Congresso USA approvò nel 1969 il Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act.‎

*

About 5:30 a.m. on November 20, 1968, an explosion of nightmarish proportions ripped through the Farmington mine
. A full 12 miles away in Fairmont, W.Va., a motel clerk felt his chair rock under him and thought the rear section of the motel had exploded. But area miners knew what the noise meant. As they rushed to the mine site, fire spread rapidly.

Within several hours of the first explosion, 21 miners struggled to the surface over various tortuous routes. Four men survived... But 78 were trapped in the mine...
Because of unsafe conditions, the Mannington Mine, Farmington, WV, was inspected by the Federal Bureau of Mines 16 times in 1968. Extensions were granted to the company 16 times.
The media dug in at Farmington, the first major mine disaster of the television age, relaying follow-up explosions and suspenseful rescue attempts to the nation's living rooms in play-by-play detail.
By November 29, readings of underground gases taken at drill holes showed the air underground could not support life, and rescuers finally admitted defeat. To starve raging fires of oxygen, all surface entrances were sealed. A world of holiday-season sympathy focused on Farmington as the mine was sealed.
Almost one year later, recovery work resumed. But progress was slowed by necessary tasks such as loading rock falls, replacing ventilation and transportation facilities, and driving new entries into the mine to bypass caved-in areas.
Attempts to recover the bodies of missing miners continued for nearly 10 years. At last, the effort was given up and all mine entrances permanently sealed. The bodies of 59 disaster victims had been brought to the surface, but 19 remain forever entombed in the Farmington mine.
We read in the paper and the radio tells
Us to raise our children to be miners as well.
Oh tell them how safe the mines are today
And to be like your daddy, bring home a big pay.

Now don't you believe them, my boy,
That story's a lie.
Remember the disaster at the Mannington mine
Where seventy-eight miners were buried alive,
Because of unsafe conditions your daddy died.

They lure us with money, it sure is a sight.
When you may never live to see the daylight
With your name among the big headlines
Like that awful disaster at the Mannington mine.

So don't you believe them, my boy,
That story's a lie.
Remember the disaster at the Mannington mine
Where seventy-eight miners were buried alive,
Because of unsafe conditions your daddy died.

There's a man in a big house way up on the hill
Far, far from the shacks where the poor miners live.
He's got plenty of money, Lord, everything's fine
And he has forgotten the Mannington mine.
...Yes, he has forgotten the Mannington mine....
There is a grave way down in the Mannington mine
There is a grave way down in the Mannington mine.
Oh, what were their last thoughts, what were their cries
As the flames overtook them in the Mannington mine....
So don't you believe them, my boy,
That story's a lie.
Remember the disaster at the Mannington mine
Where seventy-eight good miners so uselessly died
Oh, don't follow your daddy to the Mannington mine.
How can God forgive you, you do know what you've done.
You've killed my husband, now you want my son.

inviata da giorgio - 15/4/2010 - 11:19


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