tv Pres. Biden Signs Congressional Gold Medals for Jan. 6 Officers Bill CSPAN August 7, 2021 10:58pm-11:30pm EDT
congress. including the mayor washington, d.c. thank you for being with us this afternoon. like so many gathered here, i was at the united states capitol of wednesday, january 6. i was in a classified meeting with senator blunt on national security with members of the senate intelligence committee. not long after i left, the chaos began. like americans everywhere, my husband and i watched with absolute shock as our capital was under siege and the people within it afraid for their lives. what we know now is in the midst of that violent attack, there were countless acts of courage. we are here today in the rose garden, at the white house, to
recognize that courage. the officers of the united states capitol police and the d.c. metropolitan police risked their own lives to save the lives of others both on january 6 and april 2. they sacrificed so much to defend our nation. and in securing our capital, they secured our democracy. these officers are heroes. [applause] and these officers are patriots. they deserve this day and every
day to be honored. some officers continue to suffer from injuries seen and unseen and i want to make it clear that you know that you are not alone and we all stand with you. and of course, there are other officers who tragically lost their lives. there is nothing he can do -- we can do to bring these officers back or take away the peel -- the pain their families feel, but it is my prayer that their sacrifice will serve as a constant reminder of the work we must all do together, of the vigilance we must have in order to protect our democracy. so i return to the senate at around 8:00 p.m. the night of january 6, and we gathered in
the senate chamber. in the same chamber where the new deal was struck and the great society was forged. in the same chamber where the interstate highway system was started and voting rights were won. and in that chamber, just before 1:00 a.m., as officers stood guard, the final vote was tallied. democrats, independents and republicans came together and upheld the vote and the voice of the american people. as those officers continued, even at that late hour, to secure our capitol, they secured our democracy. let us never forget that and let
us always remember their courage. now it is my great honor to introduce a true champion for all those who serve in uniform, president joe biden. [applause] pres. biden: good afternoon. thank you, vice president harris. folks, not even during the civil war did insurrectionists reach the capitol of the united states of america, the citadel of democracy, not even then. but january 6, 2021, they did. extremists and terrorists launch an assault on the people's
house, on a sacred ritual to certify a free and fair election. it was not dissent, it was not debate, it was not democracy. it was insurrection. it was a riot and mayhem. it was radical and chaotic. and it was unconstitutional, and most importantly, fundamentally un-american. the existential threat, a test of whether our democracy could survive. whether it could overcome lies and a few seeking to thwart the will of the many. while the attack on our values and votes shocked the nation, our democracy did survive. it did. truth defeated lies. we did overcome, and that is
because of the women and men of the u.s. capitol police, the metro washington police department and other officials we honor today. speaker pelosi, who led the effort in the house, senator klobuchar and blunt, cosponsors in the senate, and all of my colleagues that are here, thank you. thank you. today i'm going to sign into law the bill you sent to me that awards the congressional gold medal to the united states capitol police, the washington, d.c. metropolitan police department and other law enforcement for their service and defense of our democracy on january 6. to all of them, on behalf of a grateful nation, thank you, thank you, thank you for protecting our capitol, and
may be more importantly for protecting our constitution and saving the lives of duly elected members of the senate and house and their staffs. in these moments where we are still debating, these were tragic hours back then. you stood in the breach, you did your duty, to defend the constitution of the united states against all enemies foreign and ms take. the events -- and domestic. the events were surprising, but not your character and courage. i did not grow up with any of you, but i know you. you are just like women and men i grew up with, particularly at that time it was men, in scranton and claymont. places where in the neighborhood i lived in, you became a cop,
firefighter or priest. i wasn't qualified for any of them, so here i am. [laughter] all kidding aside, i got to know you. you are the same ones after a ballgame at a visiting field, come walking out of the field and you might be all by yourself you watched six people jump our teammates. what did you do? you jumped in, knowing you would get the hell beaten out of you too. police officers are not what you do, it is who you are. i got to know you through 36 years in the senate and eight years as vice president. you are always there. it is not a joke or hyperbole,
duty, honor and service is who you are. it is who your dad was. america owes you a debt we can never fully repay. but i know receiving this award is bittersweet. on that day, more than 140 law enforcement officers suffered physical injuries, and untold number suffered an emotional toll. 15 if you were hospitalized and others were lost forever. -- 15 of you were hospitalized and others were lost forever. may their souls rest in peace and rise in glory. i know each time you put on that shield in the morning or whenever you show up for work, your families wonder whether they will get a call that day, a call they do not want to receive, hoping you come home safely.
it breaks my heart. it breaks the heart of the nation. you were assaulted by thousands of violent insurrectionists at the capitol of the united states of america. jill and i would never have thought we would have to join you in the capitol rotunda not once but twice. once to honor officer brian sicknick, who lost his life, and then to honor billy evans, who lost his life as well. both gave their full measure of devotion to the country at the united states capitol. their families are here today --
yes, you should clap for the families. [applause] i know, like others know, from personal experience, getting that phone call. it is nice to be honored and have those you lost remembered, but it is tough to be here. it brings back everything like it happened 10 minutes ago. so i offer you not only our condolences, but recognize your courage, the courage of your children. you have our most profound gratitude. you know, the fallen, in my view, our casualties of a struggle literally for the soul of america. a struggle that they did not
start, a struggle we did not seek, and a struggle that by the grace of god will win. i know this is a bittersweet moment. as proud as brian and billy, as you are, it still brings back the pain of the moment it happened. also, we offer our prayers to the families of the capitol police officer -- those of us who had in around a while knew his dad, he was sergeant of arms -- sergeant at arms of the u.s. senate. we also pray for the loved ones of jeffrey smith. for anyone facing trauma or struggling, please know there is
help available. my fellow americans, the tragedy of that day deserves the truth above all else. we cannot allow history to be rewritten. we cannot allow the heroism of these officers to be forgotten. we have to understand what happened. the honest and unvarnished truth. we have to face it. that is what great nations do. and we are a great nation. in the past weeks and months, we have heard the officers themselves, some of them here today, describe what happened -- the threats, the violence, the savage nose. when asked what he was fighting for, officer hodges stated it eloquently, one word: democracy. let's remember what this is all about.
it was a violent attempt to overturn the will of the american people, to seek power at all costs, to replace the ballot with brute force, to destroy, not to build. without democracy, nothing is possible. with it, everything is. my fellow americans, we must all do our part to perfect and preserve our democracy. it requires people of goodwill and courage to stand up to the hate, lies, extremism that led to this vicious attack. it requires all of us working together, democrats, republicans, independence. on behalf of the common good to restore decency, honor and respect. -- honor and respect for our system of government. and above all, it requires us all to remember who we are as our best as a nation. as we see in the law enforcement
officers here today, the best of our nation. the congressional gold medals awarded today will be housed in four locations. two will be displayed at the capital police department and metro d.c. police departments so that every day officers will walk by and see those medals and remember the heroism of their colleagues and the importance of the work. a third will be displayed at the smithsonian museum with the plaque dedicated to all of the officers from january 6 so all visitors can understand what happened that day. the fourth will be displayed in the capitol itself, for the honor and service of all of those who protect and serve all of us. i will now ask speaker pelosi if she is willing, and senator
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>> sunday, c-span's series "january 6: views from the house" continues and members of the house share what they saw and experience that day, including ronny jackson. >> i don't know how far we got into it, maybe five people or so speaking, going back and forth from democrats to republicans back and forth. nancy pelosi was at the podium and overseeing it all. at some point, i did not notice, but they pulled her away and someone replaced her. i did not pick up on that, it happens every now and then, i had seen it happen a few times in the three days i was there. it did not catch my attention, but what did catch my attention is shortly after that, the capitol police officers started coming into the chamber, and they were being very loud.
we were still actively debating and people were talking and they were making a lot of commotion. the doors to the chamber are typically open and they started shutting the doors and you could hear the doors, boom, boom,, and you could hear them locking them , click, click. and then i noticed several of them were standing in front of the doors and had their weapons out and i was like what is going on? >> this week you will also hear from two democrats. january 6, views from the house, sunday at 10:00 p.m. eastern on c-span, c-span.org, or listen on the c-span radio app. >> health and human services assistant secretary dr. rachel levine talked about covid-19 vaccination efforts at an event hosted by the washington post. this is about 30 minutes.