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Over the weekend, I watched a video about West Virginia that was made in the ’60s and narrated by Richard Thomas. It was produced for Public Television. I watched it three times because of what it revealed to me.

It was a political history of West Virginia, centering mostly on coal mining, the life of miners’ families, mine wars and politics of the times. I was a college student during these times and even lived next door to Fannie Patterson, daughter of former governor Okey Patterson. I was oblivious to what was going on in the state.

I was discussing this with my son, Bob, who is very knowledgeable about history of all kinds. He said it was probably because most of this was going on in the Southern part of the state. There were mines around Fairmont, Bridgeport and Morgantown, but the problems never reached the magnitude of the fields in the South. I also know that sometimes a college campus is another world--my own little world.

I looked at the children pictured and found myself thinking, “Fifteen of those children could be my grandchildren and I don’t like this thought. I cannot imagine my young children working in a coal mine for a few cents each day.”

What did I learn from this experience that can help me now?

In the beginning, many of the West Virginia mountain people were thrifty, industrious, and dedicated to family. They were trusting, but uneducated. Land men came in and bought their property for a small price, leaving them homeless and destitute. Then the politicians came with programs that were supposed to solve problems.

The news media came too. One man said, “The reporters only see what they want to see. They came to find the shoeless, dirty unemployed West Virginian. We would send the news people to the town bar where they found four of the ‘typical’ citizens and didn’t see the rest of the people that were still hard working, thrifty and family loving.”

We, the people of Calhoun County, must be aware of what is happening around us, if we want to keep our county a good place to live. We can project a positive image by our attitude and awareness. We can elect representatives who are honest and represent our needs. It is time to file for office. Are you willing to work for our county? Don’t stick your head in the sand and say, “Everything is O.K. They don’t need my help.” We don’t want to be oblivious to situations that can tear us apart. Either file for office or find honest people that can make a difference and back them.

The last words of the play, “The Lost Colony,” stated, “We must learn from the past to preserve the future.”

This Week's Editorials:

By Helen Morris:

Wood Festival

By Lisa Minney:

A Steady Rain

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