A little more than a year ago I retired from a 35-plus year career in coal mining. I was forced to retire a little early when a work-related injury resulted in a several fractured and compressed vertebrae in my back. Being a coal miner is not easy work and I was and am proud to be among the many who have worked in our nation’s coal mines – among those who literally built this country by mining the coal that was used to fire our industrial economy for the past 150 years.
Apparently a few people in this country today – including President Obama — believe that my work and the work of generations of coal miners gone before was somehow wrong. To them, coal mining is “dirty” and coal miners are “destroying nature.” What seems funny to me is that these same people apparently think the same thing of being an American. They see America as evil. They see Americans as wasteful and our country as violent and racist.
I have been thinking about this for a while and while I don’t agree with them on either issue, I would like to take a moment to issue an apology to them for a few things.
I am sorry for getting up early, working hard and trying to take care of my family.
It appears in Obama’s America no one has to work and we should all live middle class lives at the expense of “the rich” – whoever they may be.
I am sorry for mining the coal that provided heat and light for 773 homes for the past 30 years.
Apparently some would rather sit in the dark and cold, so I offer them my humblest apologies for making their lives more comfortable.
I am sorry for mining the coal that defeated the Nazis and ended the Holocaust, that turned aside Japanese and then Soviet imperialism. I am sorry for the freedom of speech, of religion and of thought that my work and that of so many others purchased. Apparently you believe this, too, was a mistake and that the average American can’t be trusted to make own decisions.
I am sorry for the coal that made the steel that built America’s cities, our cars, our ships and planes, our machines, and our way of life. Like our freedoms and our fundamental values, these are apparently abhorrent to you.
I am sorry that so many of my generation did such a lousy job as parents … sorry that my generation raised children who apparently think they are entitled to everything and shouldn’t have to work for anything. I am sorry that you don’t have any common sense, no sense of values, that you don’t appreciate the sacrifice of the generations who came before, and I am sorry that you will never know the America that I knew as a child – an America with endless opportunities… and America that ensured you could do what you wanted, believe what you wanted, say what you wanted, and be what you wanted as long as you didn’t hurt someone else in doing so. Of course, that is your choice.
But most of all, I am sorry that your children will never know that America and live with the knowledge that their parents gave away that America … gave away their birthright and gave away their futures.
So, yes, I want to apologize both for myself and my generation. I want to apologize for not giving you the one thing you needed most – a good kick in the ass.