CULPEPER STAR-EXPONENT, CLINT SCHEMMER
U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger—who was in the House chamber during the insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021—shared her thoughts Thursday as the nation marked one year since the assault on the U.S. Capitol.
“I was barricaded in the House Chamber on January 6. I was physically there as insurrectionists—domestic terrorists—clawed at the doors of the U.S. House of Representatives,” the two-term Virginia lawmaker said in a statement. “Those of us stranded in the gallery were among the final members of Congress to be evacuated, and we watched as U.S. Capitol Police officers bravely fended off a violent attack. We furiously texted loved ones, we helped colleagues process this moment of crisis, we heard the cries of ‘hang Mike Pence’ outside the doors, and we prepared to deploy gas masks. In those moments, there is no question that we witnessed firsthand a violent attempt to undermine a free and fair election—not on foreign shores, but in the U.S. Capitol Building.
“Had it not been for the bravery of the U.S. Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police Department—including the more than 140 officers who were injured on that day, we very likely might have lost our lives in the House gallery’s narrow rows of chairs,” the 7th Congressional District congresswoman said. “Their sacrifices prevented evil from winning the day.
“We cannot and should not ‘move on’ from the events of January 6, as has been suggested in recent days by several of my colleagues. These colleagues fail to recognize the severity of what occurred on that day and what has occurred in the months since,” Spanberger said. “The events of that day are a warning about what can happen to the threads of our democracy when American lawmakers—including former President Donald Trump—choose to traffic in dangerous conspiracy theories.
“This day did not happen in a vacuum. January 6 marked the continuation of a trend of falsehoods—and tragically, the lies that spawned this act of insurrection are still present in American politics,” the Democrat from Henrico County said. “In the months ahead, our system will be tested. Its strength will depend on our ability to defend the truth, and its survival will depend on our commitment to combating extremism and rejecting calls for political violence.
“But through these uncertain days, I remain confident in our country. I remain confident in the people of our nation, those who choose to serve, and the goodness of America,” Spanberger concluded. “And I remain firm in the belief that those who attacked our democracy will receive justice. I will keep working in the U.S. House to make sure that day arrives.”