'The best of our nation': Biden honors Jan. 6 first responders

President Biden signed a bill into law Thursday that will award the Congressional Gold Medal to members of the U.S. Capitol Police and D.C Metropolitan Police departments, as well as members of other law enforcement agencies, for their service protecting elected officials on Jan. 6.

Video Transcript

JOE BIDEN: 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's what great nations do, and we are a great nation.

In the past weeks and months, we've heard the officers themselves, some of whom are here today, describe what happened, the threats, the violence, the savageness. When asked what he was fighting for, Officer Hodges, who's here today, stated it, eloquently, one word, democracy. My fellow Americans, let's remember what this was all about. It was a violent attempt to overturn the will of the American people, to seek power at all cost, to replace the ballot with brute force, to destroy not to build. Without democracy, nothing is possible. With it, everything is.

So my fellow Americans, we must all do our part to perfect-- prefect and to preserve our democracy. It requires people of goodwill and courage to stand up to the hate, the lies, the extremism that led to this vicious attack. And it requires all of us working together, Democrats, Republicans, independents, on behalf of the common good to restore decency, honor, and respect for our system of government. And above all, it requires all of us to remember who we are at our best as a nation, as we see it in the law enforcement officers who are here today, the best of our nation.

Congressional Gold medal awards today will be housed in four locations. Two medals will be displayed at the US Capitol Police Department and the Washington, DC Metro Police departments so that every morning you officers walk by, seeing those medals and remember the heroism of their colleagues and the importance of their work. The third medal will be displayed at the Smithsonian Museum with a plaque honoring all law enforcement that protected the Capitol on January 6 so all visitors can understand what happened that day. And the fourth one will be displayed at the Capitol itself to remind us all who served and currently serve there and all who visit the honor and the service of those who protect and preserve all of us.

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