On Thursday’s one-year anniversary of the U.S. Capitol riot, one congressman who was there said he hopes we can learn from the events of that day.
Rep. Jason Crow, a Democrat from Colorado who was present when insurrectionists tried to stop the formal certification of then-President-elect Joe Biden’s 2020 victory, says he still has faith in our nation.
“It’s not hard for me to go to the Capitol. I’m actually emboldened to go to the Capitol,” he told Savannah Guthrie on TODAY. “I want to go back to that place and I do. And I do that work.
“For me, it has reaffirmed my love of this country. It’s reaffirmed that our democracy is about people. Our democracy is only as strong as the people who are willing to stand up and fight for it. And that’s why I think there’s an opportunity for us as a nation here as we reflect on this somber day. There’s actually an opportunity for us to renew and reengage with our democracy and to make this a year of democracy in action.”
Despite that sense of optimism, Crow also expressed concerns about the future. “We had an opportunity to bring the temperature down” after the insurrection, he said, but too many members of the Republican party remain devoted to former President Donald Trump.
“That’s not what our country is about. That’s not what our system is designed to be about and I really hope that people take an opportunity to take a different path as we reflect on this day going forward,” he said.
During the riot, the Capitol chamber was barricaded shut as insurrectionists stormed the building. Crow, an Army veteran who served three tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, was in the House gallery at the time.
“What I felt in the Capitol behind us is something that I haven’t felt since I was in Afghanistan as an Army Ranger,” he told TODAY last year, one day after the attack.
Crow called his family to say he loved them and was seen in photos comforting Rep. Susan Wild, a Democrat from Pennsylvania. His military experience also proved beneficial when he found himself going into survival mode during the siege.
“I went and checked all the doors, asked other members to take their pins off,” he said on TODAY last year. “We were putting our gas masks on and I was helping the other members figure out how to do that because that’s something I had done hundreds of times in the Army. I had a pen in my pocket and I was thinking about how we were going to fight our way out.”