PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Thursday marks a dark day in the nation’s history. It will be a year since the deadly attack on the US Capitol on January 6. Eyewitness News spoke to local lawmakers who were inside the Capitol during the rebellion about how they are marking the somber anniversary.
Two area congressmen, both Democrats, shared their memories of that day. Rep. Andy Kim represents New Jersey’s third district, which includes much of Burlington County, and Rep. Brendan Boyle represents Pennsylvania’s second district, from North Philadelphia to Somerton.
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Eyewitnesses also reached a handful of Republican congressmen, but they did not respond.
Something was already expected to happen on 5 January 2021.
“We were anticipating there would be a loud and emotional and furious crowd,” Boyle recalled, “though it never anticipated that the Capitol would be breached.”
The US Capitol was, in fact, dissolved the next day.
“One of the emails that came through the Capital Police said to turn off all the lights, silence the electronics, put up barricades in your offices,” Boyle said. “We did that.”
Meanwhile, Kim was not far away trying to find out how close or how far the angry mob was to her office.
“In the few hours we tried to find out, we were calling the Pentagon and elsewhere, trying to find out if the National Guard was coming to help us?” Kim said.
Hours later, both men were finally able to exit their offices.
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“I personally believe that the rotunda is the most beautiful room in the most beautiful building in our country,” Kim said. “This is the literal center of our democracy and I just remember seeing it covered in rubbish and rubble. I even saw the marks of cigarette butts on those beautiful white marble statues in that room. I was just overwhelmed.”
Kim was so overwhelmed that he got down on his hands and knees and cleaned the rotunda, a moment memorable in a photo.
The suit he was wearing? It was donated to the Smithsonian so that future generations would never forget January 6.
The two lawmakers talked about how divided America is, how Americans see each other as enemies because of their differences. It keeps them awake at night, but they both cling to hope too.
“What we get from this as a country, what defines the outcome of historic moments, is the willingness to step up and make their voices heard and take action,” Kim said.
“Ultimately, on January 6, democracy won,” Boyle said.
There will be a series of events held on Thursday in the nation’s capital to remember last January 6. Among them, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are due to deliver remarks in the morning.
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At 12 noon, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi will make a statement after a moment of silence in the chamber of the House. There will be a prayer meeting on the steps of the Capitol at 5.30 pm.