Posted on April 27, 2013
“Remember the dead, fight like hell for the living.” That chilling call to action is from Hazards.org, encouraging us to observe Workers Memorial Day on Sunday, April 28. Visit the Hazard website and click on their interactive map to find events around the world organized to remember the hundreds of thousands who died at work this year, because of either accidents or occupational diseases. In London, for example, a Workers Memorial Day event was held on April 26 outside the Russian Embassy to protest Russia’s continued mining and exporting of asbestos. Also on April 26, outside of Washington, D.C., the National Labor College held their annual observance at their Workers Memorial in Silver Spring, MD. To find other events in the United States, click here and here.
“It’s time for our country to fulfill the promise of safe jobs for all,” says the AFL-CIO. I was deeply moved by their listing of Workers’ Memorials all over the United States. For those of us looking for a quiet place to reflect, a visit to one of those sites would be the perfect way to observe the day. AFL-CIO’s website also offers posters, fliers and stickers to “Save Jobs, Save Lives” and “Make Your Voice Heard,” as well as a free toolkit you can download to organize your own event.
For me, this day is very personal. Twenty-eight years ago, my loving husband, Alan, lifted my wedding veil over my eyes and embraced me forever. Unfortunately, forever came to an end too quickly. Mesothelioma stole my best friend, and I desperately want him back. Gone forever are his smiles, his “I love yous,” and the precious family time we would have had together. Memories of our love are eternally etched across my heart, but now, only the sounds of silence echo around me. Ironically, our anniversary and Workers’ Memorial Day share the same day. Alan had both occupational and environmental asbestos exposure, and he paid the ultimate toll for his job: his life.
For those of us who have lost a loved one to asbestos disease, this is an important time of remembrance. Join me this Sunday, April 28th, for Worker’s Memorial Day, as I light a candle for Alan and for the countless others who have lost their lives engaging in their basic human right to safe and decent work.