Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The LuLac Edition #635, Nov. 11th, 2008






Dr. Joe Leonardi wrote a pretty nice column for one of the local papers. We thought it would be a good thing to reprint it on this site: “Coal Miner Mentality” is a phrase that is boorishly bandied about to describe many here in Greater Pittston and to a larger extent all of us who reside in Northeast Pennsylvania.
Along with hard scrabble and coal cracker, this terminology is not meant to compliment, congratulate or commend.
It is most often intended to demean, deride or dismiss the good people of, as Steve Corbett extols, “Hard Coal Country.” How little those outside of the anthracite arena know the offspring of the miners whose labor fueled the industrial revolution.
My grandfather was an owner/operator of a few mines here in the valley.
Unfortunately for my bank account he was not a coal baron. However, fortunately for my character he was a coal man.
We, all of us, are the heirs to the throne of king coal – we are the ones responsible to maintain the legacy of those who took from the ground the hard black carbon.
Yet, inexplicably, many look down upon us and our ancestors.
How is it anything less than an honor to be descended from those who sacrificed so much, but were recognized by so few?
How can we not revere those that left the sunlight behind and ventured below the earth’s surface to bring forth the precious anthracite?
How can those whose lives, by comparison are easy and risk free – not swell with pride when we recall the men who risked not solely simply injury, but often instant death or worse the slow, suffocating strangulation of black lung to provide a home and life for their families.
The coal miner was not formally schooled, he was educated by the cold realities of a harsh dark world.
The coal miner was not selfish, he did without, so his children would not need to inhale cancer causing coal dust.
The coal miner was not weak, through the strength of his spine he provided food for his family.
When I think of a coal miner, I see a strong hardworking individual. One who came to this area looking to improve not his life, but the lives of his children. I see individuals of deep faith, honesty and integrity.
When I teach a class and look upon the faces of my students, I see the realization of the dreams of those miners who so long ago shortened their own lives so my generation and the following ones, would not have to.
There is a movement afoot to prod the U.S. Postal Service to issue a commemorative stamp honoring the coal miner. This effort has gone on for many years with zero success.
This is an initiative that yearns for our support.
I say we wear with pride the badge of honor our coal miner roots inspire. We must look to the terms coal miner mentality, coal cracker and hard scrabble and take them back.
We must, with pride – own them.
I demand we proclaim; “We are the children of coal!”


At 11:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a Veteran who received $60.00 a month for 12 months in combat pay, I would like to take this final opportunity to thank deferrement
Dick Cheney for laying the wreath at Arlington. Hopefully this will be the last time this jerk gets to dishonor the location and the men and women buried there! At long last goodbye to the tough talking, steely eyed coward who went out of his way not to serve in any capacity when he had the opportunity! As he said, I had better things to do and so did I and about 2 million other "real" Americans. Not to mention the approx 58,000 who never came home from that war/mistake!But he and King Geo were ready willing and anxious to send others peoples children. The bastards!

At 12:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually I am the child of a lifetime DL and W Railroad employee
but the Railroad was here to transport the coal and so it goes.
DR Leonardi's article makes a great point. I thought there already was a Coal Miners Stamp and totally agree that there should be one. What can we do?

At 9:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well the catholics bishops have come thru again. In this time of
renewed enthusiasm for the country
and in the spirit of unity, they announce that they will fight Pres Obama! They didnt fight the war in Iraq and certainly never spoke out against the Nazi death camps and they havent done much good cleaning up their owm pedophile mess, but they intend to stand up now. They must all be good men like Martino, the Facist! I have an idea thats long overdue. Tax any church that choses to get involved in politics and start with the catholics because they are a dying breed anyway. Hit em where it hurts ,they worship only the money.I spent 21 years in the cult before I wised up to their real intentions years ago.

Taylor Jack

At 11:22 AM, Anonymous Joe Leonardi said...

Hi Dave,

Thanks for posting my column. For those that want to help I have petitions at my office:
250 Pierce Street
Suite 100
718 1500


At 6:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Some time visit the Eckley Miner's Village. Take the tour: guaranteed roller coaster of emotions.


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