Obama to eulogize miners today in West Virginia
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A capacity crowd of 3,000 people is expected to attend today's memorial service in Beckley, W.Va., for the 29 coal miners killed in the April 5 underground explosion in the Upper Big Branch Mine in Montcoal, W.Va.
Several of the state's television and radio stations will carry the event live, meaning West Virginians who did not secure free tickets to the afternoon event will nevertheless be able to experience what promises to be an emotion-filled service.
President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and the state's congressional delegation are among the dignitaries who plan to attend the service hosted by Gov. Joe Manchin and First Lady Gayle Manchin.
Mr. Obama, who is known for his oratory, will deliver the eulogy for the miners who died in the worst U.S. coal mining disaster in 40 years. In his remarks, the president will be "honoring the lives of those who perished and offering his deepest condolences to the loved ones they left behind," the White House said.
The 3:30 p.m. service at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center, about 35 miles southeast of the Upper Big Branch mine, also will include prayers, musical performances, tributes to the miners and remarks by Gov. Manchin and others. Families of the deceased will attend.
Matthew Turner, Gov. Manchin's communications director, said it is hoped the solemn memorial service will provide some salve both for the families of the killed miners and for a shocked and saddened state.
"The governor wants it to be something of a healing event," Mr. Turner said.
First Published April 25, 2010 12:25 am