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TRANSCRIPT: Majority Leader Schumer Remarks At Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony Honoring The Officers Who Defended Democracy And The Capitol On January 6th

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke at the Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony honoring the police officers who defended the Capitol during the January 6th insurrection. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks:

Madam Speaker, Leader McConnell, Leader McCarthy, Chief Manger, Chief Contee, Reverend Clergy, my colleagues and friends:

January 6th, 2021 was a day of violence and a day of darkness; but today, under this hallowed Capitol Dome, we come to sanctify it also as a day of heroes.

We do so by bestowing the highest honor Congress has to offer to the men and women of the US Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police Department of Washington DC. On the day democracy faced maximum danger, these public servants responded with maximum valor.

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 January 6th, democracy lived on because of them.

Today we are here to say, “thank you” and “thank God for you.”

A year can pass, two years can pass—a decade can pass—but January 6th will always seem like yesterday to me.

I can remember sitting on the floor of the Senate that day when my detail suddenly came up and said “Senator, we have to get you out of here; you are in danger.” And he grabbed me by the jacket as we ran out of the chamber. At one point, I was within 30 feet of the rioters, before my brave detail pulled me away to safety.

Their quick thinking, their valor, their ability to stay calm in the face of violence undoubtedly saved lives that day. And again, our thanks will forever remain immeasurable. So too will our gratitude towards everyone who stepped up that day, from the national guard to the Capitol staff who restored these halls after the violence.

As we observe this solemn occasion, we acknowledge that no honor, no recognition can bring back the officers we lost to the attack. We mourn their loss, we pray for their families, and we honor their limitless heroism in the face of the unthinkable.

And to every member of the Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police who still bear the scars from that attack: we are here for you, always. It cannot be any other way. On that terrible day in January, you stared directly into the heart of darkness, and though outnumbered you held the line—the line of democracy—you bravely held it, and democracy endured.

In return, those of us in elected office must always strive to care for you; to support your physical safety and your mental health; to give you the tools necessary to do your jobs to the best of your ability.

To my personal detail—Mike, Kevin, Joe, Dujuan, and Chris, as well as Antonio, Larry, Saphonia, Christian, Brian, Derren, Kat, Fernando, Richardson, and Alex—thank you. Thank you for what you do every day to keep me, my family, and my staff safe. You are the best of the best. You make your department proud.

Finally, let me say this: the dome of this Capitol is kept lit by day and night as an enduring symbol of our precious democracy. It is a message to the entire world that here in America, self-rule must forever serve as our bedrock.

On January 6, that light flickered for a brief, harrowing moment, but it was rekindled anew thanks to the bravery of our Capitol Police, the DC Metropolitan Police, and all our public servants who dedicate themselves to protecting this Capitol.

Today, because of these heroes, the vision of our founders remains alive in our time.

So thank you. God bless you. God bless our democracy.