Rescue of Chilean Miners a ‘Rare Blessing’

At 12:11 a.m., Florencio Avalos, the first of 33 miners trapped for 69 days in Chile’s San Jose mine, emerged to the embrace of his family and friends. And workers, especially those who work deep in the earth in mines, let out a cheer and a deep sigh of relief. The rescue effort to free the miners, who have been in the Atacama Desert mine since Aug. 5, is going like clockwork, according to the Associated Press.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, a third-generation coal miner himself, watched the rescue at the Chilean Embassy in Washington, D.C., last night. He said, “The miners endured tribulations that thankfully few will ever face, and are emerging as an inspiration to the world.”

"Having followed the footsteps of my father and grandfather into the coal mines of Pennsylvania, and having had the honor of serving as President of the United Mine Workers of America, it is with great emotion that I watch the ongoing rescue efforts in Chile.

It is a rare blessing when the earth gives back up those that it has trapped within. Watching these brave miners return to the embrace of their families is an indescribable joy.

These miners began a day of work months ago like millions do every day, endured tribulations that thankfully few will ever face, and are emerging as an inspiration to the world. Their courage and endurance are only matched by their loved ones, who anxiously await their return and the rescuers who dug tirelessly towards their freedom.

And while this is a happy day, we also bow our heads and remember our fallen brothers and sisters who have not returned to us, and pray for a safe future for all those who toil underground."

 

by James Parks, Oct 13, 2010 AFL-CIO Now News Blog