The Congressional Gold Medal is the US Congress’ “highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions by individuals or institutions,” according to the US Senate
Biden thanked the officers in a Rose Garden ceremony “for protecting our Capitol, and maybe more importantly, for protecting our Constitution, and saving the lives of duly elected members of the Senate, in the House, and our staffs.”
Twenty-one House Republicans voted against
awarding the medals. Not all dissenters explained why they voted against the bill, but some appeared to disagree
with the use of the word “insurrection” to refer to the January 6 attack on the US Capitol building by a pro-Trump mob seeking to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
But in the Rose Garden, the President issued a blistering criticism of revisionists who have sought to change the narrative about the events of January 6.
“A mob of extremist terrorist launched a violent and deadly assault on the people’s house, and the sacred ritual to certify free and fair elections. It wasn’t dissent. It wasn’t debate. It wasn’t democracy. It was insurrection. It was riot and mayhem. It was radical and chaotic. And it was unconstitutional. Maybe most important, it was fundamentally un-American,” the President said.
He also underscored that “the tragedy that day deserves the truth above all else.”
“We cannot allow history to be rewritten. We can’t allow the heroism of these officers to be forgotten. We have to understand what happened. The honest and unvarnished truth: we have to face it. That’s what great nations do, and we are a great nation,” Biden continued.
A Congressional Gold Medal will be awarded to the headquarters of the US Capitol Police and the Washington, DC, Metropolitan Police Department. Two additional medals will be given to the Smithsonian Institution and the Architect of the Capitol for display and research purposes.
The bill signing comes days after it was revealed that two more Metropolitan Police officers who responded to the January 6th attack recently died by suicide
. In all, there have now been four known suicides by officers who responded to the Capitol during the attack.
The event also comes less than two weeks after officers who experienced the January 6th insurrection testified
before the House select committee investigating the attack.