PIEDMONT - Eleven United States soldiers were named one-by-one at a memorial service held in Piedmont on Saturday afternoon as local citizens, relatives, and elected officials placed candles in a candelabra to remember the fallen comrades who were massacred on Dec. 17, 1944, during the World War II Battle of the Bulge, in Belgium.

By Jean Braithwaite
Tribune Correspondent
PIEDMONT - Eleven United States soldiers were named one-by-one at a memorial service held in Piedmont on Saturday afternoon as local citizens, relatives, and elected officials placed candles in a candelabra to remember the fallen comrades who were massacred on Dec. 17, 1944, during the World War II Battle of the Bulge, in Belgium.
Those named were all part of the African American unit of the 333rd Field Artillery Battalion, and included Pvt. Curtis Adams, Cpl. Mager Bradley, Staff Sgt. Thomas Forte, Tech Cpl. Robert Green, Pfc. James Leatherwood, Pvt. Nathaniel Moss, Tech Sgt. William Pritchett, Pvt. Due Turner, Pfc. George Moten, and Pvt. George Davis.
One more name was given and added to the list of soldiers known as the Wereth 11 - Piedmont native Tech Sgt. James Aubrey Stewart. To honor him and placing a candle in remembrance was his niece, Jackie Stewart Washington.
Washington was also given the honor of unveiling the sign honoring Stewart which is located on the bridge between Piedmont and Westernport.
Serving as master of ceremonies was T.J. Coleman, who for nine years has continued to forge ahead with the Aubrey Stewart Project so that all those of this area, along with West Virginia and beyond, may know of the ultimate sacrifice made by the Wereth 11.
Coleman said of Stewart, “He is a hometown hero, and today is a celebration of his life.”
Coleman continued talking about Stewart by saying, “He is a light shining on our town,” and adding that he knows the Piedmont native’s life portrays something positive for “the children and everyone” of this community.
Saying that he visited the gravesite of Stewart in Belgium, Coleman said, “Mr. Stewart is never coming home,” but here in Piedmont is where we must celebrate his life.
Coleman told how the West Virginia House of Delegates gave a full vote to rename the roadway between Piedmont and Keyser the James Aubrey Stewart Memorial Highway.
Del. Gary Howell was present at the memorial service, and he gave a brief history of Stewart and told how he was too old to be drafted, and “Left his work at the Luke mill to volunteer to serve his country.”
Howell said that by volunteering to serve in the United States Army, Stewart gave his all as a sacrifice, and, “It is a great honor to have him remembered” here today.
Former Piedmont mayor Skip Clifford also said, “This is a great day for all of us” to place a new sign complete with a photo of Stewart on the incoming side of the bridge between Piedmont and Westernport, because, “The other one was falling down.”
Clifford said that he has in his possession of picture of the Piedmont soldier near his bed, and “Every night, I say, ‘Thank you Mr. Aubrey Stewart.’”
Cole Weaver, the 2016 Keyser High School recipient of the Aubrey Stewart Scholarship, and who is presently attending Shepherdstown University, and he likened the life of Stewart as a rock thrown into the water, and, “The ripples will be cast out forever.”
“We must never forget him, and his memory will forever live in our hearts,” Weaver said.
Also present was T. Beard, who was named the Aubrey Stewart Junior Ambassador, an honor given to an eighth grader at Keyser Middle School.
Shayla Cartwright, a Piedmont native, said that Stewart was a war hero, a tortured man, and “lived right here in this town.”
She said that she is looking to the future of having Stewart named in the history books, and, “He is from Mineral County, he is from Piedmont, he is not just a name, nor is he just a face.”
Cartwright added, “Piedmont is part of his story, and he gave for us.”
For many years in the local community the Aubrey Stewart VFW Post 5957 was active and Suellen Clay served for nine years as the auxiliary president and past president of the District Post for the state of West Virginia.
She mentioned the VFW Post 5957 was consolidated with the Keyser VFW 3518.