By Jessica Borders
For The Register-Herald
MANNINGTON, W.Va. — The families and friends of the miners who lost their lives in the 1968 Farmington mine disaster promised back then that they would never forget that tragic day.
Forty-five years later, they are still paying tribute to those fallen heroes.
A large crowd gathered under tents and umbrellas in the rain Sunday afternoon for the annual remembrance service at the Farmington No. 9 Mine Memorial on Flat Run Road in Mannington.
This year marks the 45th anniversary of the mining disaster. Twenty-one miners were able to survive the explosion of Nov. 20, 1968, at the No. 9 mine of Consolidation Coal Co., but the remaining 78 workers did not make it out alive.
The monument, “located atop the unrecovered portion of No. 9 mine dedicated in perpetuity as a cemetery,” includes the names of the 78 miners who died in the tragedy. On Sunday, those victims’ names were read aloud, and wreaths were placed in front of the monument in their honor.
People gather together every year — no matter what the weather is like — to honor those heroes who have provided a safer environment for all miners today, said Mike Caputo, District 31 international vice president of the United Mine Workers of America and majority whip for the West Virginia House of Delegates. He served as the master of ceremonies for the memorial service…