The Saddest of Glyn Dwr Days: Gleision Colliery.

Yesterday should have been an opportunity for celebration in Wales. For many years campaigners have attempted to develop a national day, a bank holiday even, to commemorate the rising of Owain Glyn Dwr some 600 years ago. However it might be manifest, Owain Glyn Dwr day should at the very least afford people in Wales an opportunity to celebrate their identity and sense of national identity. However, there was no such effort to celebrate yesterday. Instead Wales came together in unity and support, for the community hit so hard by the mining disaster at Gleision Colliery.

As many commentators noted, the sadness brought about by yesterday’s news, that four miners had died underground, triggered echoes to the many tragedies that Wales has endured through its’ mining history. And it was with this sense of history, the sense that Wales had been here before, that the Welsh community came together. It was refreshing to see so many of the Welsh political elite come to the community centre where the families of the miners had taken refuge, leaving the tensions that so often divide the likes of Carwyn, Hain and Gillan. This was not a chance to score points, but a chance to support, to offer a community what politicians are there for.

Yet it goes far beyond politicians arriving on location, and the community at the heart of the disaster, this was felt across the nation. This may not have been a disaster on the scale of the recent mining disaster in New Zealand, of which so many comparisons have been drawn over the last24 hours , but the loss of any life in such circumstances is a disaster in its own right, numbers make no difference, and the impacts felt by the loss of life in the Swansea valley will be felt across the country. Wales watched as the news came through, and today the nation wakes from an evening of sad reflection.

This was not a day of celebration, but it was a day when Wales came together. Carwyn Jones spoke of Wales’ sense of community, and that was there to be seen with the support that came into the community, and the support that will continue to come to the area over the coming weeks and months. These families will not be forgotten, they will be supported, as Wales has supported the families of those to perish in mining disasters in the country so many times before.

Little more can be said really, other than this was a bitterly sad day for community and nation alike. Wales grieves with the families, and Wales will work hard to support them through this time.

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