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In a Saturday Oct. 13, 2012 photo, hundreds congregated along U.S. 23 from Big Stone Gap to Pound and into Kentucky in support of coal miners and the mining industry.

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'War on coal' label obscures battlefield realities

Only a few generations ago, coal miners were literally at war with their employers, spilling and shedding blood on West Virginia's Blair Mountain in a historic battle for union representation and fair treatment. Today, their descendants are allies in a carefully choreographed rhetorical war playing out across eastern Kentucky, southwestern Virginia and all of West Virginia.

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