Floor Speech on H.R. 3325, to Award Congressional Gold Medals to USCP and Those Who Protected the U.S. Capitol on January 6th

June 15, 2021
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks on the Floor of the House of Representatives in support of H.R. 3325, to award Congressional Gold Medals to the United States Capitol Police and those who protected the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, 2021.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks:

Speaker Pelosi.  Thank you very much, Madam Speaker.  I thank the gentlewoman for yielding and for leading the effort on the Floor today to pass this important legislation.  I commend her and Ranking Member, Mr. McHenry, for his good words about this legislation and his reference to the bravery of our Capitol Police.  Thank you.

Madam Speaker, over the past five months – over five months have passed since [the] January 6th insurrection that was waged against our Capitol and our democracy.  For most of us, the horror of January 6th has not faded.  The memory of Members, staff and workers fleeing for their lives as the sound of screams and shots fired, the agony of over 140 law enforcement officers physically harmed and those killed all remain very raw.  

January 6th was unquestionably one of the darkest days in the history of our democracy, but because of the courage of the Capitol Police and other law enforcement officers will also be etched in history as a day of heroism.  That day, the Capitol Police force put themselves between the violence and us.  They risked their safety and their lives for others with the utmost selflessness.  Some died, becoming martyrs for our democracy.  And they did so because they were patriots, the type of Americans who heard the call to serve and answered it, putting country above self.  They enabled us to return to the Capitol – to the podium that night to show the world that our democracy had prevailed and that it had succeeded because of them.  

In March, as you recall, we came together, and we passed legislation to award these patriots the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest award, as has been mentioned, that this body can offer.  Doing so was a high honor and privilege for each of us, and it was our responsibility to ensure that we always remember those heroes and their sacrifice.  As I said on the Floor then, may the courage of these heroes always remain an inspiration to us, and may we always remember the valor of the fallen.  

This Gold Medal will be proudly displayed, as the distinguished gentleman referenced, for years to come, ensuring that their valor and the sacrifice of the fallen has – is always remembered.  But two weeks after we passed that Gold Medal legislating, as you know Madam Chair, under your leadership, Congress honored one of the fallen, Officer Brian Sicknick with a lying-in-[honor] ceremony to convey the grief and gratitude felt by all Americans for his sacrifice.  That respect was reflected in the presence of distinguished leaders, whether it was military leaders, leaders of institutions of government who came to pay their respects, including President Biden.  Sadly, just weeks later, we returned to the Capitol Rotunda for a lying-in-honor ceremony for Officer Billy Evans, as the distinguished Ranking Member mentioned, killed in the line of duty in April on Good Friday.  

Officer Evans was a distinguished member of the First Responders Unit and eighteen-year veteran of the Capitol Police.  Everyone who knew him knew he was a hero.  We hope it was a comfort to his children, Logan and Abigail, that so many learned that day what a hero their father was.  We hope that by adding Billy's name to the pantheon of patriots honored by this Gold Medal that the memory of his sacrifice will always endure.

So, here we are once again on the Floor of our House honoring our heroes.  As we pass this legislation, we, as Members of Congress, have a responsibility to do so [much] more than simply laud these officers [as] heroes.  We must respect them.  We must support them with resources and funding.  We must keep them safe.  And we must ensure a January 6th attack can never happen again.  That is about our respect for their service and our responsibility to honor their sacrifice.

Any chance we get, we want to praise our Capitol Police.  Sadly, we're doing this in a time when we're honoring some who have lost their lives and some who were severely injured.  But every day, every day we know that they are making a sacrifice for that, and that's what we respect.

With that, I urge a strong bipartisan vote for this legislation.  I'm so pleased to hear both our distinguished Chair, Maxine Waters, and the distinguished Ranking Member both support the legislation.  I urge all Members to join us in honoring our law enforcement heroes with real action with a Gold Medal.

With that I yield back, Madam Speaker.