More than a dozen House Democrats are calling for the creation of a memorial within the U.S. Capitol to remember the January 6 riot, which Democrats say was a “defining moment” for American Democracy that should be enshrined forever.
“Two years after January 6th, we see one of the darkest chapters of our nation’s history as democracy’s defining moment – not its last,” said Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo., the sponsor of legislation creating a memorial. “As leaders responsible for these attacks spread extremism here and beyond our borders, we must be very clear. The best of America was there and will always rise to uphold our democracy.”
The “Capitol Remembrance Act,” would require the Architect of the Capitol to create an educational exhibit that includes property damaged during the riot, along with photographs, records and artwork related to the event.
It would also honor the people who “held the fabric of our nation together in the face of a violent insurrection as we continue defending democracy.” That includes honoring U.S. Capitol Police Officers Brian Sicknick and Howard Liebengood, both of whom died in the days following the attack.
A medical examiner found Sicknick died after suffering two strokes and that there was no evidence his death was caused by chemical irritants he was exposed to during the riot. Liebengood died by suicide just days after the riot, and his family said his death was caused by “the trauma he experienced on the job.”
The memorial would also honor Metropolitan Police Department Officers Jeffrey Smith, Gunther Hashida and Kyle DeFreytag. All three died by suicide after the riot.
The bill makes no mention of Ashli Babbitt, an Air Force veteran who was shot by a Capitol Police officer during the riot, or three others who died during the event.
House Democrats created a House select committee to investigate the riot and found that former President Trump inspired it. Nearly 1,000 people have been charged with crimes related to their participation in the riot.
Another sponsor of the bill, Rep. Susan Wild, D-Pa., said the bill honors those who protected American democracy, “some of whom with their lives, and to ensure future generations never forget that our democracy is only as strong as our commitment to it.”
“For more than two centuries the United States exhibited one of the most crucial requirements of democracy — a peaceful transition of power,” she said. “The insurrection of January 6th brought an end to that unbroken transition and must be remembered as a warning to Americans as to what happens when violent, anti-democratic rhetoric is given a platform.”
Crow and Wild introduced the same bill in the last Congress, when Democrats controlled it. However, Democratic leaders did not act on the bill after it was introduced – it received no hearings and no votes.