5:14 P.M. EDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Please be seated. Good afternoon, everyone. It is an honor to be with you.
Speaker Pelosi, Chairwoman Amy Klobuchar, Ranking Member Roy Blunt, and all the members of Congress, including the mayor of Washington, D.C.: Thank you for being here with us this afternoon.
Like so many gathered here, I was at the United States Capitol the morning of Wednesday, January 6th. I was in a classified meeting with Senator Blunt on national security with fellow members of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
And not long after I left, the chaos began. Like Americans everywhere, my husband Doug and I watched with absolute shock, as our Capitol was under siege and the people within it afraid for their lives.
What we know now is in the midst of that violent attack, there were countless acts of courage. And we are here today in the Rose Garden at the White House to recognize that courage.
The officers of the United States Capitol Police and the D.C. Metropolitan Police risked their own lives to save the lives of others, both on January 6th and on April 2nd. They sacrificed so much to defend our nation.
And in securing our Capitol, they secured our democracy. These officers are heroes. (Applause.) And these officers are patriots. (Applause.) And they deserve, today and every day, this honor. Our nation is grateful for your service.
And now there are some officers who, of course, continue to suffer from the injuries, seen and unseen. And I want to make it clear that you know that you are not alone and that we all stand with you.
And, of course, there are other officers who tragically lost their lives. There’s nothing that we can do to bring these officers back or to take away the pain their families feel now. But it is my prayer that their sacrifice will serve as a constant reminder of the work we must all do together, of the vigilance we must have in order to protect our democracy.
So, I returned to the Senate at around 8:00 p.m. the night of January 6th, and we gathered in the Senate Chamber — in the same chamber where the New Deal was struck and the Great Society was forged, in the same chamber where the Interstate Highway System was started and voting rights were won. And in that chamber, just before 1:00 a.m., as officers stood guard, the final vote was tallied.
Democrats, independents, and Republicans came together and upheld the vote and the voice of the American people. As those officers continued, even at that late hour, to secure our Capitol, they secured our democracy. So, let us never forget that, and let us always remember their courage.
And now, it is my great honor to introduce a true champion for all those who serve in uniform, President Joe Biden. (Applause.)
5:18 P.M. EDT