|"All my life's a circle;
Sunrise and sundown;
Moon rolls thru the nighttime;
Till the daybreak comes around."|
"All my life's a circle;
But I can't tell you why;
Season's spinning round again;
The years keep rollin' by."
"It seems like I've been here before;
I can't remember when;
But I have this funny feeling;
That we'll all be together again.
No straight lines make up my life;
And all my roads have bends;
There's no clear-cut beginnings;
And so far no dead-ends." - Harry Chapin
By Bob Weaver
Here we are, 41 years after the Buffalo Creek disaster, and many of the same concerns exist with toxic sludge dams in West Virginia, some of which officials say are rarely inspected, and hundreds and hundreds of unclaimed strip mines abandoned by their owners.
The state still fighting for the removal of mountains to get coal, claiming no damage.
My connection to the Buffalo Creek tragedy, having been there, has left me with a head-full of memories and impressions about money, power and politics.
Most West Virginians have long surrendered to King Coal, their government operatives and their ability to trespass on what should be our most important natural resources, our mountains, valleys and rivers - our health, safety and life itself.
In Logan County, reports say rainbow trout are being scattered into the swift current of Buffalo Creek, bringing back to life a stream that is known for death.
That which belongs to nature is slowly returning after years of environmental abuse and the tragic event of February 26, 1972.
Forty-one-years ago, the frequently cited sludge dam belonging to Pittston Coal Company collapsed, sending millions of gallons of toxic waste water down Buffalo Creek, killing 125 men, women and children.
It destroyed everything in its wall of power and disrupted the balance of life.
Over 1,000 were injured and 4,000 were left homeless.
In widely publicized lawsuits against Pittson, the victims received a few dollars.
The company said the death and destruction was an "act of God," and elected officials like then Governor Arch Moore expressed more concern over the companies losses than human life, a disgraceful display supporting King Coal.
His political maneuvering to help Pittson after the disaster, cost the state's taxpayers millions of dollars. Moore settled with Pittson for one million.
Now, the DNR says nature has helped the stream recover, and local people have helped with the cleaning, forming an ad-hoc watershed improvement group.
After funerals, memorial services, numerous books, films and the erection of a monument, the tincture of time has surely healed some of the suffering wounds of the families who lost their husbands, wi wives, fathers, mothers, and children, many children.
For some, the wound is still open.
Hopefully, time will help those to reconcile their anger over the abuse of power and politics that brought the death and destruction.
There seems little hope that the State of West Virginia will cling to the divine, protecting that which God has given to us.
See SUNNY CAL JOURNAL - Buffalo Creek: Clutching Lifeless Body Of His Son, Moments Of Clarity
A RETURN TO BUFFALO CREEK: 1972 - “Oppression Done Under The Sun”>