Congressman Sires Remarks on the Anniversary of the January 6 Attack on the Capitol


Date: Jan. 6, 2022
Location: Washington, DC

One year after the violent attack on the Capitol, Congressman Sires remembers the traumatic experience and continues his call to support the work of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol.

"A year ago today, our democracy was attacked by a violent mob inspired by the former President and his lies about the 2020 election. The former President has had an entire year to take responsibility for his actions, yet he has chosen to continue to lie to his supporters. As a nation, I believe that we must have a full understanding of what happened on and before January 6. It is important for future generations to accurately understand our history, and for us to protect our democracy. For that reason, I want to share my story of that day.

"The morning of January 6th started off quiet, but my staff and I watched as more and more people, many waving Trump 2020 flags, began to congregate at the barriers that had been set up. While I was on the House floor watching debate, my staff saw the initial barriers knocked aside as the crowd rushed forward towards the Capitol. I knew that the situation was becoming serious when Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Hoyer, and Majority Whip Clyburn were rushed off the House floor by security. I witnessed as rioters broke the windows on the doors to the chamber. Police, security, and some of my fellow Members did all they could to barricade the door. We were instructed to put on gas masks as tear gas had been deployed outside the Chamber. My colleagues and I were then rushed off the floor to safer locations as more rioters rushed into the areas around the Chamber. I returned to my office where I could lock down with my staff. My staff and I remained locked down, in dark rooms, as shouts and flash bangs went off outside until the complex was secured. After hours of chaos and uncertainty, I returned to the House floor to do my part to ensure that the election results were certified, the very process the rioters sought to halt. I am continually grateful to the Capitol Police who sacrificed to protect lawmakers on that day, and to the National Guard who were deployed to monitor the Capitol in the weeks after the attack.

"The experience of a violent attempt to overthrow democratic institutions brought back intense memories of my childhood in Cuba. It was a terrifying moment that I never imagined would happen in the country that took my family in when we fled a violent dictatorship. The fact that many lawmakers, the former President, and others try to rewrite those events as anything less than a violent attack on democracy is inexcusable and amounts to nothing more than propaganda. In the year since the attack, I have repeatedly been disappointed by my colleagues across the aisle who vote down legislation to create a committee to investigate those days events and continue to support lies about the validity of the election and the violence of the mob. Their actions are not only wrong, but they are dangerous for the future of our democracy.

"I continue to support the work of the January 6th Select Committee. Their investigation will provide the American people with a comprehensive understanding of what occurred on January 6th. This common understanding will allow us to heal as a nation, hold those responsible accountable, and better protect our democracy from any future attack."