WHITESVILLE, W.Va. -- Families like the Greens have sent one generation after the next into Southern West Virginia coal mines.
Mothers like Janet Green and wives like Mickie Green will continue to worry about their sons and husbands, who know mining as a way of life.
"Coal mining's just a brotherhood," said Chris Green, who mines coal at Kanawha Eagle mine in nearby Comfort.
He enjoys the camaraderie that miners share underground, which often spills over into sharing leisure time above ground, be it hunting, fishing or drinking beer.
The Greens turned out Saturday to a makeshift memorial featuring a miner's helmet, boots, candles, flowers and "A Miner's Prayer" poem to honor 29 miners killed following Monday's massive explosion at Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch Mine in Raleigh County.
Jennie Bennett helped set up the memorial, between a veterans memorial and the public library in Whitesville, where she laid 29 carnations and 29 candles.
"I didn't want 29 laying there," Mickie Green said of the flowers.
"I didn't either," Bennett said.
It was the worst U.S. coal mining disaster since 38 miners died in a coal-dust explosion Dec. 30, 1970, in Hyden, Ky.
Seven bodies were pulled from the mine soon after Monday's 3 p.m. blast, as were two survivors. One of the survivors has been released from the hospital, but the other remains in intensive care. Officials have not released a complete list of the victims.
Eighteen other bodies were discovered during an initial rescue attempt. High levels of toxic and explosive gases forced crews out of the mine three times over the course of the next five days. Late Friday, teams discovered they had walked past the bodies of three of four unaccounted-for miners, unable to see them for the smoke and dust. The last body was discovered at about 11:30 p.m. Friday, and Gov. Joe Manchin announced the grim results about an hour later.
Many in Boone County went to sleep early Saturday knowing that the four missing miners didn't make it.
Bennett believes the surrounding Boone and Raleigh County communities won't forget the explosion any time soon.
"Our kids will remember this," she said, adding that the explosion might instill a fear in children about coal mining.
Still, Chris Green will continue mining, along with so many others in the community, such as his father and father-in-law.
"It's in the blood," he said. "It's how we was raised."
Green is a fourth-generation coal miner.
Janet Green, his mother, said the people in Whitesville and surrounding communities need to help the families who lost miners cope the best they can.
She knows there'll be frustration and anger over the loss of so many lives.
"And it's hard when your husband and son go back in the mines," she said.
Chris' wife, Mickie, said the mine disaster makes her aware of her own situation.