Cheering in Chile

Miner Samuel Avalos, top center, makes the victory sign after emerging from the capsule during his rescue operation at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile, Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010.

By the time you read this, we hope all 33 miners who had been trapped a half-mile below the Earth’s surface in a Chilean gold mine for more than two months will have been successfully rescued from their underground prison.

Twenty-two had been brought up from the bowels of the collapsed San Jose Mine as this editorial was being completed. They emerged — one person and one trip at a time, riding to the surface in the specially designed rescue chamber — to the cheering of their families, their countrymen and the entire world.

We add our voices to the cheering. At a time when there is so much wrong with the world — when hatred and violence mark much of mankind’s actions toward others — it is wonderful to celebrate people working together to help their fellow humans.

The fact that a drilling expert from the Denver area played a key role in drilling the 2,041-foot escape shaft is all the more reason for Coloradans to cheer.

But it isn’t just the rescuers and their careful, time-consuming technological efforts to reach the miners that makes this event so noteworthy. It is the miners themselves, and their ability to keep each others’ spirits up during their 69-day ordeal. For the first 17 days, no one on the surface even knew whether they had survived.

Yet they stayed together, bound by their jobs and their faith in God, often praying together. Many even shaved before being rescued, to present their best face to their loved ones and the world when they reached the surface.

The rescues are great news for the miners and their families, and for all those in Chile who worked over many weeks to ensure the miners’ survival and safe return to their loved ones.


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