Miners Memorial Day observed

Christopher Gooding
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SPRINGHILL - While the skies turned grey and threatened to rain, this former mining community came together to remember the lives lost while working during Springhill's heyday.

Each year, June 11 marks William Davis Miner's Memorial Day, a day of remembrance dedicated to the memory of miners who were killed on the job.
Springhill, a community which knows tragedy all too well, lost more than 230 miners in three mining disasters between 1891 and 1958.
"I was just a young child when the '58 (Bump) happened but it wasn't until I was older that I realized it stuck with me," said Rick Clarke, president of the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour and a former Springhill resident.
"My involvement in the labour movement began in workplace safety and I believe that it started because of here."
Davis Day service began in the St. David's Presbyterian Church before moving to the basement of the Miner's Memorial Library after a forecast for rain changed plans to hold the laying of wreaths at the miner's cenotaph.
Despite the impending weather, participants brought their wreaths outdoors and laid them on display for all to see.
"I think it goes to show that all these years after the tragedy, it's the people who were there to remember and the lessons learned that build our community," Springhill Mayor Allen Dill said.
Davis Day began in memory of William Davis, a coal miner with roots in Springhill killed during a protest over the British Empire Steel and Coal Company's decision to shut down drinking water and electricity to the New Waterford community.
Davis was shot and killed while other miners were injured after company police force fired more than 300 shots at the protestors.
The United Mine Workers of America designated the day in his honour, with miners in Nova Scotia vowing to never work on Davis Day again.
Davis Day is observed in Springhill, River Hebert, Sydney, Alder Point, Florence, Sydney Mines, New Waterford, Dominion, Glace Bay, Stellarton and Westville.

Organizations: Nova Scotia Federation of Labour, Presbyterian Church, British Empire Steel and Coal Company United Mine Workers of America

Geographic location: SPRINGHILL, New Waterford, Sydney Mines Nova Scotia River Hebert Glace Bay Stellarton Westville

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Recent comments

  • Nancy
    January 18, 2010 - 10:58

    And thank goodness for Rick Clarke. The guest speaker didn't show up and never called anyone to let them know but Rick graciously filled in at the last minute. He did a superp job. Thanks Rick for being the kind of Springhiller that we can count on.