Jan. 6 first responders receive Congressional Gold Medal

On Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi awarded the Congressional Gold Medal to members of the U.S. Capitol Police and D.C. Metropolitan Police Department who were present at the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection. During the ceremony, family members of officers who died as a result of the riot appeared to refuse to shake hands with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Video Transcript

NANCY PELOSI: Exactly 23 months ago, our nation suffered the most staggering assault on democracy since the Civil War. January 6 was a day of horror and heartbreak, yet is also a moment of extraordinary heroism. Staring down deadly violence and despicable bigotry, our law enforcement officers bravely stood in the breach ensuring for-- that democracy survived on that dark day. So on behalf of the United States Congress and the American people, 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.

[APPLAUSE]

ROBERT J. CONTEE III: For many of the officers with us, today's ceremony is the first time they have returned to the Capitol complex. Many of us still carry the physical, mental, and emotional scars after that mob of thousands launched a violent assault in an attempt to halt the counting of electoral ballots. The sound of metal poles and other objects striking the bodies, helmets, and shields may still ring loudly. The air still thick with bear spray and other chemicals, making it difficult for our officers to see and breathe.

It was your blood, your sweat, and your tears that mark these grounds where we stand today. And you endured this without reluctance. This commitment to our nation is a reflection of your spirit and serves as an enduring reminder that adversity is also an opportunity. And one of the greatest strengths is our ability to overcome insurmountable obstacles.

NANCY PELOSI: We thank all of you for joining us as we canonize these heroes in the pantheon of patriots, "O Beautiful for Patriots' Dreams." May God bless them and their families. God bless you and your families. May God bless the United States of America. Thank you all for being with us today. Thank you.

[APPLAUSE]