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 Post subject: Miners monument unveiled at Huber Breaker
PostPosted: Tue May 28, 2013 4:53 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 7:16 pm
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Location: Anthracite Region of PA
Miners monument unveiled at Huber Breaker

By Paul Golias (Correspondent)

Published: May 28, 2013

ASHLEY - The spirits of America's war dead and spirits of victims of anthracite mine accidents were summoned by speaker after speaker Monday as a new memorial to coal miners was unveiled at Ashley.

"When your (coal-miner) father left that morning for work, you were not sure he would return." stated Sen. John Yudichak, D-Plymouth Township, said. "He was not going to war but he was going to work," he said, to do the "tough and dirty work that helped build a nation."

Yudichak and others invoked their own families' coal mining heritage. He applauded the monument as a fitting remembrance of the miners of Northeastern Pennsylvania, and the crowd of about 250 in turn applauded vigorously when Ray Clarke, of Ashley, unveiled the monument.

Clarke, chairman of the board of the Huber Breaker Preservation Society, was in tears as the blue tarpaulin fell away, exposing the black granite monument. A new American flag fluttered at half-staff as the deteriorating Huber Breaker sat in the background.

"We may not save the breaker," said Robert Hughes, executive director of the Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Mine Reclamation, "but with this monument and this park, we still can tell the story."

The society owns 3.1 acres in front of the breaker, land donated by Earth Conservancy. Clarke said work will continue on creating a pathway on which people. Including school kids, can view the breaker while it stands. Kiosks will tell the story of mining and the miners. More landscaping and a fence also must be installed, he said.

State Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Wilkes-Barre, cited the freedoms that Americans enjoy to gather, to speak, to vote and to worship, freedoms protected by war dead.

"Today is Memorial Day. It is fitting to also honor those who gave their lives in the mines." The spirit shown by anthracite miners is "the same spirit you have today," he said.

Those in the military and miners both did "noble work," said state Rep. Gerald Mullery. The Rev. Carol Coleman, of Ashley and pastor of Luzerne United Methodist Church, said we must honor the "quiet heroes," the miners who had the courage to face dark days and "went to battle every day of their lives."

Steve Biernacki, a member of the Huber Society board, was master of ceremonies for the program. He noted that 31,088 miners died over the course of anthracite's history in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

The Huber Breaker, which opened in 1939, is one of the few coal processing plants still standing. Efforts to save it have been unsuccessful. Its owner, No. 1 Contracting Co., is in bankruptcy and sale of the breaker is anticipated to obtain value of salvageable steel. As preservation hopes diminished, attention turned to creation of the memorial park.

Biernacki and the speakers thanked Clarke for his untiring work to bring the monument to fruition. In a surprise turnabout, a small monument honoring Clarke was presented to him. That monument will be placed in the park, Biernacki said.

The miners' memorial carries the inscription, "To all those who worked in the Northern Coal Field," on its base. A top piece reads, "Huber Breaker-Anthracite Coal Region Miners Memorial."

Tony Brooks, executive director of the Luzerne County Historical Society, in comments to The Citizens' Voice, said the one thing that binds 90 percent of the families in the Wyoming Valley area is a link to the mining industry. This means a shared pride in the dangerous work that miners did, he said.

"They made America," Brooks noted.

The Rev. Rebecca Tanner, pastor of Ashley Presbyterian Church, offered invocation and the Rev. Thomas O'Malley, pastor of St. Leo's/Holy Rosary Church, gave benediction. Dave Fedorczyk and Tim Saltz of the Ashley Fire and Rescue Hose Co. handled the flag raising and Peggy Wentz sand the National Anthem. Ashley police and members of council attended also.

The Rev. Brian Clarke, nephew to Ray Clarke, was called on for comments by Biernacki, who joked that the young priest should not disappoint the crowd.

"It's not the crowd that I'm afraid of. It's the Clarke family," he retorted to laughter.

Scott K
"Watch Your Top"

 Post subject: Re: Miners monument unveiled at Huber Breaker
PostPosted: Tue May 28, 2013 5:41 pm 
That is great! it sucks that the breaker will not be preserved. Are there any others still standing or is this the only one left, or is the Huber Breaker in better condition than the others, and that is why they wanted it preserved?

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