Washington, Jan 6 (EFE).- President Joe Biden marked Friday’s second anniversary of the Jan. 6 assault on the United States Capitol by supporters of Donald Trump with the presentation of one of the country’s highest civilian honors to 14 police officers and public officials for their “exceptional” contributions to democracy.
“History will remember your names. They’ll remember your courage. They’ll remember your bravery. They’ll remember your extraordinary commitment to your fellow Americans,” Biden told recipients of the Presidential Citizens Medal.
Nine of the 14 honorees are police officers who defended the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, as partisans of then-President Trump tried to stop Congress from certifying Biden’s victory in the November 2020 election.
Three of those officers were awarded the medal posthumously. One, Brian Sicknick, died of natural causes after suffering several strokes in the days following the riot.
The other two took their own lives in the wake of the events of Jan. 6.
Trump, who has already launched his campaign for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, continues to insist that the 2020 election was stolen.
Rusty Bowers, the former Speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives, and Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson were recognized for resisting pressure to overturn the 2020 election results in their respective states, both won by Biden.
Bowers, a Republican, testified to the congressional committee investigating Jan. 6 that Trump telephoned him after the election and asked him to shift Arizona’s 11 electoral votes from Biden to himself.
A mother-daughter pair of election workers from Georgia, Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, each received a medal.
Both women received threats and suffered harassment after Trump falsely accused them of fraud in counting ballots.
Also honored was another Republican officeholder who stood up to Trump, former Philadelphia County Board of Elections Commissioner Al Schmidt, who rejected demands from the White House to stop the counting of votes.
“On January the 6th our democracy was attacked. There’s no other way of saying it,” Biden said.
“A violent mob of insurrectionists assaulted law enforcement, vandalized sacred halls, hunted down elected officials – all for the purpose of an attempt to overthrow the will of the people and usurp the peaceful transfer of power. All of it was fueled by lies about the 2020 election,” he said, without mentioning Trump by name.
Five people died in the disturbances on Jan. 6 and more than 140 law enforcement personnel were injured. EFE aaca/dr