U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) issued the following statement on the fourth anniversary of the Upper Big Branch Mine tragedy:
"Four years ago, 29 brave miners -- proud fathers, strong brothers, beloved sons and honest neighbors -- went to work and never came home to their loved ones. Not a day goes by that I don't think about that day. As Governor at the time, I joined our entire nation as we grieved with their families for their tremendous loss, and today, with heavy hearts, we remember and honor their courage and the incredible strength of their families. Our hearts are still broken, and we will never forget their sacrifice.
"This day will always serve as a reminder -- a reminder of the love shared for our fallen brothers, a reminder that life is often too short and a reminder that we must always put safety first. The health and safety of our miners will always be our top priority, because no family should ever endure a preventable tragedy like the one at Upper Big Branch again. Although we have much to mourn today, Gayle and I -- and all West Virginians -- honor the memories of the dedicated souls who lost their lives, as well as their colleagues who continue their work with respect and dignity. Today, we pray for continued strength for the families who lost loved ones on that awful day."