WHITESVILLE, W.Va. -- Hundreds of people showed up Wednesday to form a circle at the baseball field outside Whitesville Elementary School, and marched through town to honor the 25 fallen miners at the Upper Big Branch Mine and pray for four others who are missing.
Mourners sang "Take Me Home, Country Roads," and "Amazing Grace."
Doug Dotson of Comfort showed up to the candlelight vigil to "give respect to the miners."
"It lifted 'em up here because there was a lot of people down, especially ones that had family members in the mine," he said.
Nancy Platt, owner of Nuttin Fancy restaurant in Whitesville, set out candles in brown paper bags outside her downtown eatery. Platt's vascular disease makes it difficult for her to march, so she lit up the storefront instead.
To Platt, the throngs of people who showed up spoke to her about how people in the area have united.
"We're a strong community and we love each other," she said. "There were a lot of miners who were marching and there were a lot of miners' wives who were marching."
Traveling down W.Va. 3 earlier Wednesday, church signs urged drivers to "Pray for our Missing Miners and Families." A similar makeshift sign appeared on pink paper on the back of an old red van that sits along the roadway.
Some national media members gathered at Marsh Fork Elementary seemed pleasantly surprised at the hospitality of local volunteers, who are feeding sandwiches, water, soft drinks, desserts and other food to the media.