President Obama will travel to Beckley, West Virginia on Sunday to attend a memorial service for the 29 miners lost in an explosion at Upper Big Branch Mine in April and will try to help those who lost loved ones heal.
"We cannot bring back the 29 men we lost. They are with the Lord now. Our task, here on Earth, is to save lives from being lost in another such tragedy. To do what must be done, individually and collectively, to assure safe conditions underground. To treat our miners the way they treat each other – like family. For we are all family. We are Americans." President Obama will say Sunday.
White House aides say the President is going to celebrate the 29 miners who died and he will mourn with the community. The President and Vice President will meet privately with families who lost loved ones in the accident. While the President has ordered an investigation into the mine disaster, the speech today will not be a policy speech and will focus on the loved ones who perished and the community.
"In the days following the disaster, emails and letters poured into the White House. Postmarked from different places, they often begin the same way: “I am proud to be from a family of miners,” “I am the son of a coal miner,” “I am proud to be a coal miner’s daughter.” They ask me to keep our miners in my thoughts. Never forget, they say, miners keep America’s lights on. Then, they make a simple plea: don’t let this happen again."
And the president will address the hard work and toll mining takes on american families.
All the hard work. All the hardship. All the time spent underground. It was all for their families. For a car in the driveway. For a roof overhead. For a chance to give their kids opportunities they never knew; and enjoy retirement with their wives. It was all in the hopes of something better. These miners lived – as they died – in pursuit of the American dream.
The memorial service starts at 3:30pm eastern time. Vice President Biden will introduce the President and West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin will also take part in the service.