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We Still Miss You Pop !

bart ziggie ( Greg )

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26 years ago today we lost my father. My dad Melvin fought a long battle with lung disease and eventual lung cancer way back when there was little treatment and even less hope for chronic pulminary problems. A little history about one of the toughest men i ever knew who will always be my hero. My father was diagnosed in 1959 with black lung disease. he had a grapefruit size tumor in his right lung and his lung was consumed with the effects of breathing coal from years on the railroad. Drs. removed his entire right lung and gave dad very little chance of recovery. Well, in 1960 my father filed one of the first black lung suits in the history of the country against a very large railroad company for their negligence. My father refused to give up his fight. There where 5 boys and 2 girls at the time of his illness. He won a major judgement in 1962 and paved the way for hundreds of thousands of other disabled workers to seek compensation in the same way here in my home state. To make a long story short my father continued to fight his illness thru the years. I was born in 1968 and from a very early age was a spoiled brat. lol...... i was the apple of pops eye they say. My little sister was born in 1971 and that solidified our family. Pop was done. lol..... bout time i guess. I cant help but to chuckle. My dad was so ornery ! growing up as a kid i have been very blessed in being able to recall so many things from such early ages. The whole time i was growing up dad was very ill. His disease and fight was waning fast. He at times was just so ungodly sick and coughed huge amounts of phlegm. I cant even imagine having that much phlegm in ones lung. Ill never forget pop taking me whenever he could wherever he could. By the time i was about 8 it was an endless array of hospital visits and stays and so on. Everyone knew he was dying. He developed what they called lung cancer in his remaining lung in the summer of 1977 and passed away peacefully on 29 Nov. 1977. I carried this weight with me over the years and have expressed it at times and have also bottled it up over the years. The bottom line is after so long it still stirs an emotion in me that touches the very core of the man i have now become some 26 years later. Pop, I know you can see me here as im typing this and i want you to know i too will fight the way i seen you fight. You were and always will be my hero.


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Greg, your dad was a hero. He fought for the rights of the workers at the same time he was sick and still raising a family. What a guy!! You must be very proud of him.

I lost my mom in 1964, when I was just a kid. I still miss her and sure wish she was here to help me though this. I know I will see her again someday, but I sure need her now. I guess we never lose the need for our moms and dads.

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Your tribute to your pop was very moving, Greg. He was a great man who in his short time raised a very loving son. I am reminded of a good quote:

“And in the end, it's not the years in your life

that count. It's the life in your years.”

Abraham Lincoln

16th American President

Your father certainly led an important life in more ways than one.

God bless you both, and those cute kids of yours, too!

Karen M.

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