KEYSER - U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin told those gathered at the Boyce-Houser American Legion on Friday, “It is hard to find words to say thank you to our veterans,” mentioning those who are still living and those who have gone on.

By Jean Braithwaite
Tribune Correspondent
KEYSER - U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin told those gathered at the Boyce-Houser American Legion on Friday, “It is hard to find words to say thank you to our veterans,” mentioning those who are still living and those who have gone on.
Manchin was at the Keyser Legion to present the reading of  Senate Resolution 99, which was approved by the U.S. Senate in October.
The resolution was to pay tribute to the 11 African American soldier who were brutally murdered during the World War II Battle of the Bulge, in Wereth, Belgium.
Manchin told about the importance of honoring the 11 soldiers, with one of them being James “Aubrey” Stewart from Piedmont.
Manchin said that Stewart was the first African American to be hired at the Luke paper mill, and had worked there for several years before, at age 36, “he enlisted and offered to go” into the Armed Services.
Manchin said about the 11 soldiers, “They stood brave and strong, and to honor them is long overdue,” telling about a road in Piedmont being named in memory of Stewart.
Manchin wanted to let the audience know the type of person Stewart was, when he told about the last letter sent home to his family members in Piedmont, and dated Dec. 7, 1944.
The letter from Stewart inquired about family members, with hopes that all of them would have a wonderful Christmas.
“He was on the front lines of battle,” and was concerned about his family in West Virginia, Manchin said, adding, “That showed patriotism and service.”
During the program Sen. Manchin introduced Jackie Stewart, a great niece to James Stewart.
She said that during the same war, she lost her own father, Staff Sgt. Clarence Robert Stewart, who was killed in action on Oct. 13, 1945.
Manchin said that the Wereth 11 resolution was “hot-lined,” explaining that there was no Democrat or Republican who objected to passage of the Resolution 99.
He said that the people of this country can work together, saying, “We are Americans first,” over party ties.
Kip Price, who has a mission to promote the story of the Wereth 11, read the resolution, and he gave part of the words of that document telling how the 11 soldiers were found by the Army Medical Corps, “to have been stabbed, shot, and struck by blunt force.”
Other wording was that the Senate, on behalf of the United States, recognizes the dedicated service and ultimate sacrifice of the 11 African American soldiers of the 333rd Field 1bsttalion who were massacred in Wereth,Belguim, during the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944.