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AM Hucks: Mine Disaster Still Shapes Community

You can find D.P. Bond's Wallace Street Journal column, "To The 91," here and Huckleberries Online comments about the disaster here.

In a reminder of the Sunshine Mine Disaster that killed 91 miners 35 years ago (May 2, 1972), David Bond wrote: "Some 88 more guys got out and lived to tell about the disaster, although not all of them regained their health. Not a small handful of the victims were fellows who, having escaped the early-morning horror, went back into the mine to grab their partners and then themselves perished as the flames and the fumes intensified. But as an old friend of ours, long-deceased himself said, "What else are you gonna do?" Bond's Wallace Street News online column triggered memories at Huckleberries Online Wednesday. Silver Valley Girl: "I was a junior in high school in Kellogg and many classmates lost fathers, uncles, and grandfathers. Every time a name was called over the loudspeaker during class to come to the office, we knew they had found another miner." ... Bayview Herb: "I was the finance manager for Knudson Chevrolet then. One couple came in, bought a car, insured it for death. He went into the mine the next shift and was gone." ... John Austin: "I was friends with many of those whose fathers, uncles or brothers perished in the fire. … Gene Johnson (a friend's father) died when he went back in, after initially escaping. As a shifter, he felt it was his duty to rescue his crew." … Raymond Pert: "This day in the history of the Silver Valley has lived in me as darkness and has shaped how I see my hometown, my friends in the Valley, and labor. I keep trying to articulate it, but fall short again and again. May 2, 1972, haunts me." (You can read Bond's column and the rest of the comments at Huckleberries Online.)

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D.F. Oliveria started Huckleberries Online on Feb. 16, 2004. Oliveria's Sunday print Huckleberries is a past winner of the national Herb Caen Memorial Column contest.