Today, standing in the same stately Capitol Rotunda where, on January 6, insurrectionists marched through after beating, trampling, crushing and seriously injuring dozens of law enforcement officers defending the Capitol, and Democracy, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, honored the January 6 heroes with Congress’ highest honor, the Congressional Gold Medal.
“January 6 was a day of horror and heartbreak,” the Speaker said. “It is also a moment of extraordinary heroism. Staring down deadly violence and despicable bigotry, our law enforcement officers bravely stood in the breach ensuring that democracy survived on that dark day.”
“So, on behalf of the United States Congress and the American people,” she continued, “It is my honor to present the Congressional Gold Medal to the United States Capitol Police, the Metropolitan Police and every hero of January 6, from every agent that responded that day.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, said, “Whether it was holding the line on the lower west terrace or leading insurrectionists away from the Senate chamber or acting quickly to protect members and staff, history will forever note that on Jan. 6 democracy lived on because of them…”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and other dignitaries also spoke.
The medals will be placed in four locations — at U.S. Capitol Police headquarters, the Metropolitan Police Department, the Capitol and the Smithsonian Institution.
The emotional event was one of Pelosi’s last ceremonial acts as Speaker of the House.
It was the result of her and others’ efforts to honor the heroes who defended the Capitol. Efforts that began almost two years ago.
Eighteen months ago, on June 15, 2021, the House passed the legislation 406-21.
Republican Representative Adam Kinzinger said at the time, “How you can vote no to this is beyond me…Then again, denying an insurrection is as well. To the brave Capitol (and DC metro PD) thank you. To the 21: they will continue to defend your right to vote no anyway.”
Schumer, criticizing the 21 House Republicans who voted against the bill, said that they were “some of the same folks who likened the January 6th attack to, quote, a normal tourist visit, who deny the events that day were an insurrection. The same folks who screamed the loudest about the dangers of defunding the police, refuse to defend the police. The very police who shielded them from a vicious mob.”
On August 3, 2021, the Senate unanimously passed the legislation awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to the officers of the US Capitol Police and the Washington, DC, Metropolitan Police Department.
1. Lauren Boebert of Colorado
2. John Rose of Tennessee
3. Andy Harris of Maryland
4. Thomas Massie of Kentucky
5. Bob Good of Virginia
6. Louie Gohmert of Texas
7. Barry Moore of Alabama
8. Ralph Norman of South Carolina
9. Matt Rosendale of Montana
10. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia
11. Chip Roy of Texas
12. Paul Gosar of Arizona
13. Andy Biggs of Arizona
14. Warren Davidson of Ohio
15. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania
16. Matt Gaetz of Florida
17. Greg Steube of Florida
18. Andrew Clyde of Georgia
19. Jody Hice of Georgia
20. Mary Miller of Illinois
21. Michael Cloud of Texas
The author is a retired U.S. Air Force officer and a writer.