April 05, 2015

Manchin Reflects on the Fifth Anniversary of the Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin issued the following statement reflecting on the five-year anniversary of the tragedy at Upper Big Branch Mine that killed 29 miners.

“Today, on this Easter morning, while many of us are waking up to celebrate the dawning of new life, our hearts weigh heavy with the sad memory of the tragic Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster. Five years ago, 29 brave West Virginia miners went to work and never returned home to their loved ones. It was a day that brought profound sorrow and truly shook the community, the Mountain State and the entire nation as we grieved the worst mining disaster in four decades. In the following days, the unbreakable bonds of family became very clear as I stayed with the miners’ loved ones through moments of hope and despair. Our nation mourned with the families for their tremendous loss, and today, we honor their courage, sacrifice and extraordinary strength.

“This day will always serve as a devastating reminder that no family or community should ever endure a preventable tragedy like the one at Upper Big Branch again. I want to assure those families, the people of our state and our country that the memory of their family members will never leave our hearts and minds. I remain absolutely and totally committed to the health and safety of every worker, because everyone should expect go to work in the morning and return home safely at night. Today, Gayle and I join all West Virginians in grieving the loss of our miners and offering prayers for the continued comfort and strength for their loved ones.”