One year after the insurrection on Capitol Hill, U.S. Rep. Tom Reed said he still has faith in America and our governmental institutions.
In a two-minute video posted on Facebook Thursday, Reed reflected on the events of Jan. 6, 2021, calling it a “dreadful day” when the Capitol was attacked.
“I had just left the floor. I remember being outside as I normally walk back to my office, looking to get back into the building when it was locked down,” the Corning Republican said.
Reed remembers hearing loud bangs, which he later learned were flash grenades and pepper spray balls used by the Capitol Police to try to disburse the protesters that were present. He talked to some of the officers and learned about possible pipe bombs that were planted nearby. As he entered his office, he could witness some of what was going on outside and turned on television to see more of the protests.
By the end of the night after the protesters had left and the Congressional session had resumed, Reed said he walked across the floor to his best friend in Congress, Rep. Josh Gottheimer, a Democrat, as an illustration of unity.
Reed said unity is still important. “We can come together. We can unite in America. We can be proud Republicans like myself and stand with Democrats who are proud in their belief. But at the end of the day, we can stand together and resolve our differences without resorting to violence,” he said Thursday.
One year ago, Reed issued a statement condemning the attacks, saying “Our Constitution calls for the civil transition of power and though we may not agree with the election results we must agree to always act with honor and civility toward all. We believe in the right to peacefully protest, but we must emphatically reject those horrible instances of physical attacks on our governing institutions and let democracy proceed.”
After the insurrection, impeachment charges were brought up against Donald Trump. Reed was not among the 10 Republicans who joined the House Democrats in impeaching the former president. Still, he has routinely condemned the events of that day.
On Thursday, Reed reiterated his hope for the future. “It’s a day to reflect, it’s a day to learn from and it’s a day that should make us better and stronger as a nation as we go forward,” he said.
He added that he encourages people to never give up on America. “Even in our worst of days we are better than anything else on the face of the earth when it comes to government by the people, for the people, and will always stand for freedom and democracy,” Reed said.