Fam­i­lies hon­oured at May Day Min­ers March

The Drumheller Mail - - REAL ESTATE - Pa­trick Ko­lafa The Drumheller Mail fielphoto

This Sun­day, the com­mu­nity will come to­gether to hon­our the mem­o­ries of the fam­i­lies that helped build a na­tion in the mines of Drumheller.

The At­las Coal Mine Na­tional Historic Site over the last few years has re­vived the tra­di­tion of May Day. Once a pop­u­lar event in the val­ley, honoring worker’s rights, the hol­i­day has shifted in a mod­ern age.

“This is a chance for us to re­mem­ber our min­ing her­itage, to hon­our all mine fam­i­lies, in par­tic­u­lar to re­mem­ber the 210-plus men and boys who were killed while dig­ging Drumheller’s coal,” said Jay Rus­sell cu­ra­tor at the At­las Coal Mine.

The im­por­tance of the coal in­dus­try runs in the veins of the Drumheller com­mu­nity, and first put the val­ley on the na­tional stage. “That coal is what fu­eled the devel­op­ment of West­ern Canada. When coal was king, Drumheller was the crown jewel in the crown of King Coal,” said Rus­sell. “Our coal went all across West­ern Canada, and our Mine fam­i­lies were who dug that to help build this coun­try.”

The main fea­ture of event is the Min­ers’ Memor ia l March to hon­our those who gave their lives in the mines in the val­ley. Groups will march at 12:30 p.m., start­ing at the Bad­lands Com­mu­nity Fa­cil­ity and will walk to the Min­ers’ Memo­rial Park be­side Drumheller Town Hall.

“We are go­ing to do a short march, car­ry­ing the plac­ards of the names of mine fam­i­lies. They could be min­ers killed, or they could be just fam­i­lies too,” said Rus­sell. “Rev­erend Kather­ine Free­man will pre­side over the event, and her grand­fa­ther was killed in the mines. She the has a di­rect con­nec­tion to the val­ley, her fam­ily is from East Coulee.”

The ser­vice at the memo­rial will in­clude guest speak­ers, as well as a roll call of the min­ers who per­ished in the mines and will fea­ture mu­sic from Marie Rus­sell.

B e - fore the march , pa r t i c i - p an t s can fill up at the Drumhe l le r Le­gion’s monthly pan­cake breakfast. An­other tra­di­tion they are draw­ing to mark May Day is sports.

“Drumheller was huge with hockey and base­ball and some of the finest ball play­ers to ever come out of Al­berta, came from the val­ley here,” said Rus­sell.

This will be the sec­ond an­nual Min­ers May Day Slo­p­itch tour­na­ment. Teams will be com­pet­ing start­ing April 29. This is a fundraiser for the At­las Coal Mine.

This is a chance for us to re­mem­ber our min­ing her­itage. in par­tic­u­lar to re­mem­ber the 210-plus men and boys who were killed while dig­ging Drumheller’s coal.”

This year’s Min­ers March takes place May 1 at 12:30 be­gin­ning at the Bad­lands Com­mu­nity Fa­cil­ity, and end­ing at the MIner’s Memo­rial Park be­side Town Hall.

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