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    "The fight is never about grapes or lettuce. It is always about people."
    Cesar Chavez

    :: Wednesday, August 08, 2007 ::

    The Silver Bridge was just the beginning - By Hoppy Kercheval, Charleston Daily Mail
    The following spring, on the morning of April 27, 1978, workers were just getting their day started, preparing to add another concrete ring on a giant power company cooling tower going up along the Ohio River south of St. Marys.

    But the scaffolding bolted to the concrete rings below pulled away, and 51 workers fell to their deaths. It remains the worst construction disaster in U.S. history.

    Think about it for a moment: The Silver Bridge, Farmington, the Marshall plane crash, Buffalo Creek, a devastating flood in Mingo County, and Willow Island -- all in the span of 10 years and four months.

    That's a mountain of physical and emotional damage for a small state to absorb in a relatively short period of time.

    The images are still embedded in the minds of those who lived through the bleak days in our state: burning shards of metal on a hillside, black smoke bellowing hundreds of feet in the air from a mine portal, cars and tractor-trailers in a jumbled heap along the riverbank, the dazed look on the faces of those who lost everything in the floods.

    At Willow Island today, you can tell where work stopped suddenly on a sunny April morning 29 years ago. The ring on the tower where the scaffold peeled away has a different shade than the ones above it.
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