Life in a Mining Town Liane Hansen visits Sago, W. Va., site of the mining accident this past week that claimed the lives of 12 men. Retired miner Charlie Malcolm, his wife and two daughters talk about mining, their lives and their community.

Life in a Mining Town

Life in a Mining Town

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Charlie Malcolm, wearing his miner's cap Courtesy of the Malcolm Family hide caption

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Courtesy of the Malcolm Family

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In West Virginia's coal mining communities this weekend, funeral services are being held for victims of the Sago Mine accident this past week. Twelve men died, and one survived.

Sago -- a town of a few houses, a church and the mine -- instantly was turned into the center of national attention as word of the accident spread. But by Thursday evening, Sago was no longer a busy place.

Just as veins of coal lace through the Appalachian Mountains, coal dust flows through the veins of the men, women and children who live in the hollows and towns that dot those rolling hills. Along the two-lane roads of Upshur and Barbour Counties, churches and businesses displayed signs sharing a common sentiment: "Pray for the miners' families."

Flags hung at half-staff in the damp air. Black ribbons adorned the front doors of homes and stores. In Philippi, less than an hour's drive from Sago, members of the Malcolm family sat down on Friday morning over coffee at the Medallion Restaurant to talk about their community and their lives with a mix of resolve and holding back tears.

Jesse Baker produced the story of our visit to West Virginia, and Rob Byers was our sound engineer.