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Wednesday, 3 February 2021

'He was a peacemaker in the wrong place at the wrong time': Nancy and Chuck honor slain Capitol cop Brian Sicknick at socially distanced Rotunda ceremony before his burial at Arlington

 Slain Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick was memorialized in a Congressional ceremony on Wednesday morning as his remains lie in honor at the US Capitol - the same building where he was killed while defending the seat of American democracy from attack by the MAGA mob rioters. 

The solemn ceremony in the Rotunda was attended by Sicknick's family, his Capitol Police colleagues and members of Congress including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.   

Schumer delivered remarks, telling of how he met with Sicknick's family and condemning the violence that led to the officer's death, saying: 'He was a peacemaker in the wrong place at the wrong time.'

A choir from the Air Force, in which Sicknick served, sang America the Beautiful before Pelosi took the podium, heralding Sicknick's heroism and service to his country. 

Earlier in the day Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff passed through the Rotunda to pay their respects. The couple placed their hands over their hearts and took a moment of silence before touching the wooden urn with Sicknick's ashes.    

Sicknick is set to be taken to his final resting place at Arlington National Cemetery later on Wednesday. 

The officer died January 7 after he was reportedly struck over the head with a fire extinguisher during the violent insurrection on the Capitol the day before. 

A federal murder investigation was launched following his death but, almost one month on, no arrests have been made.

Joe and Jill Biden paid their respects to Sicknick on Tuesday night after a his urn was carried into the Rotunda while dozens of Capitol police officers stood at attention.  

Slain Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick was memorialized in a Congressional ceremony on Wednesday morning as his remains lie in honor at the US Capitol - the same building where he was killed while defending the seat of American democracy from attack by the MAGA mob rioters

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer delivered remarks, telling of how he met with Sicknick's family and condemning the violence that led to the officer's death

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer delivered remarks, telling of how he met with Sicknick's family and condemning the violence that led to the officer's death

'He was a peacemaker in the wrong place at the wrong time,' Schumer said of Sicknick
Officer Brian Sicknick (pictured) died aged 42 the day after the Capitol riots

'He was a peacemaker in the wrong place at the wrong time,' Schumer (left) said of Sicknick (right)

Chuck Schumer speaks at memorial for Capitol officer Sicknick
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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also spoke heralding Sicknick's heroism and service to his country

Sicknick's loved ones sat front row during the ceremony and were the first to process out, escorted by an Honor Guard

Sicknick's loved ones sat front row during the ceremony and were the first to process out, escorted by an Honor Guard

The solemn ceremony in the Rotunda was attended by Sicknick's parents, his Capitol Police colleagues and members of Congress including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (center)

The solemn ceremony in the Rotunda was attended by Sicknick's parents, his Capitol Police colleagues and members of Congress including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (center) 

Capitol Police officers salute Sicknick's urn after the Congressional ceremony concluded on Wednesday

Capitol Police officers salute Sicknick's urn after the Congressional ceremony concluded on Wednesday

Harris and husband pay respects to officer killed in Capitol riots
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Earlier in the day Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff passed through the Rotunda to pay respects

Earlier in the day Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff passed through the Rotunda to pay respects

The couple placed their hands over their hearts and took a moment of silence before touching the urn with Sicknick's ashes

The couple placed their hands over their hearts and took a moment of silence before touching the urn with Sicknick's ashes

Harris reaches out to touch the urn with Sicknick's ashes inside the Capitol Rotunda on Wednesday morning

Harris reaches out to touch the urn with Sicknick's ashes inside the Capitol Rotunda on Wednesday morning

Joe and Jill Biden paid their respects to Sicknick on Tuesday night

Joe and Jill Biden paid their respects to Sicknick on Tuesday night

McConnell gave a short speech on the Senate floor before the ceremony began at 10.30am on Wednesday.

The Republican minority leader said Sicknick 'lies in honor under the dome of the institution he swore to defend and died defending'.

'Four weeks ago the Rotunda was strewn with the debris of an insurrectionist mob,' McConnell said. 'Today it is adorned in solemn thanksgiving to the sacrifice of a hero.'

In her speech during the memorial, Pelosi said it was fitting that the Air Force choir chose the song 'America the Beautiful' to honor Sicknick. 

'Through the heroism of Officer Sicknick and those who serve our country, God has truly shed his grace on us, on America, from sea … brotherhood… from sea to shining sea,' Pelosi said, quoting the song. 

'May it be a comfort to Officer Sicknick's family that so many mourn with them and pray for them during this sad time.' 

Three members of Sicknick's family sat front row at the ceremony, where attendees were spaced out in chairs spaced six feet apart, centered around a table with the officer's ashes and a folded American flag. 

At the conclusion of the ceremony, attendees including DC Mayor Muriel Bowser processed past the urn in silence before leaving the Rotunda. 

Last to leave were Capitol Police leaders, who stepped up one by one to salute Sicknick's ashes.  

Schumer and McConnell pause to pay their last respects to Sicknick during the Congressional ceremony on Wednesday

Schumer and McConnell pause to pay their last respects to Sicknick during the Congressional ceremony on Wednesday

Pelosi greets Sicknick's family members during Wednesday's ceremony at the Capitol Rotunda

Pelosi greets Sicknick's family members during Wednesday's ceremony at the Capitol Rotunda

An attendee cries during a Congressional tribute to Sicknick inside the Rotunda on Wednesday

An attendee cries during a Congressional tribute to Sicknick inside the Rotunda on Wednesday

A Capitol Police Officer holds a program during a ceremony memorializing Sicknick on Wednesday

A Capitol Police Officer holds a program during a ceremony memorializing Sicknick on Wednesday

Rep Louie Gohmert (R - Texas) salutes Sicknick's remains during the Congressional ceremony on Wednesday

Rep Louie Gohmert (R - Texas) salutes Sicknick's remains during the Congressional ceremony on Wednesday

A motorcade procession brought the remains of Sicknick to the Capitol around 9.30pm Tuesday night.

An honor guard then carried the urn and a folded American flag up the steps, while Sicknick's fellow officers stood to attention to watch their comrade be carried into the building he had spent more than a decade working to protect. 

The wooden urn, which was inscribed with his full name and date of birth and death, was placed in the heart of the rotunda next to the flag which had been flown the day the officer died. 

'This flag was flown over the United States Capitol by The Honorable Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, honoring the distinguished life and service of Officer Brian D. Sicknick. January 7, 2021,' read a plaque on the flag. 

Sicknick's family visited his urn in a private ceremony first and were seen being comforted by Sicknick's colleagues on the steps of the Capitol.  

Pelosi and Schumer then arrived to pay honor to the cop with other lawmakers including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Rep. Steny Hoyer, Rep. Steve Scalise and Rep. Pete Aguilar following close behind. 

Acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman, who replaced Chief Steven Sund after he resigned in the wake of the Capitol riot, paid tribute to Sicknick next, raising her hand to salute the urn. 


The President and First Lady walking into the Capitol to pay their resects to the fallen officer Tuesday night

The President and First Lady walking into the Capitol to pay their resects to the fallen officer Tuesday night

The president took a solemn moment of silence in front of the urn carrying the cremated remains of the fallen cop, reaching out and touching the wooden box before holding his hand to his heart

The president took a solemn moment of silence in front of the urn carrying the cremated remains of the fallen cop, reaching out and touching the wooden box before holding his hand to his heart

Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi and US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer pay their respects

Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi and US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer pay their respects

Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Democrat Rep. Steny Hoyer come together to pay their respects

Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Democrat Rep. Steny Hoyer come together to pay their respects

An honor guard carried the urn and a folded American flag up the steps of the Capitol and into the rotunda

An honor guard carried the urn and a folded American flag up the steps of the Capitol and into the rotunda

US Capitol Police Officers place on a stand the urn holding the remains of their fellow officer Brian Sicknick

US Capitol Police Officers place on a stand the urn holding the remains of their fellow officer Brian Sicknick

A fellow law enforcement officer breaks down in tears as he visits the urn of his colleague Tuesday night

A fellow law enforcement officer breaks down in tears as he visits the urn of his colleague Tuesday night 

Police officers line the rotunda to see the urn with Sicknick's remains placed under the dome for people to pay their respects

Police officers line the rotunda to see the urn with Sicknick's remains placed under the dome for people to pay their respects

An aerial view of the rotunda as people gather to pay tribute to the officer who died in the line of duty last month

An aerial view of the rotunda as people gather to pay tribute to the officer who died in the line of duty last month 

Lawmakers including Nancy Pelosi, Kevin MCarthy and Chuck Schumer were among those gathered on the steps of the Capitol as Sicknick's remains were carried into the rotunda on Tuesday night

Lawmakers including Nancy Pelosi, Kevin MCarthy and Chuck Schumer were among those gathered on the steps of the Capitol as Sicknick's remains were carried into the rotunda on Tuesday night

Biden said a prayer, marking the sign of the cross, before he walked over to a trio of wreaths next to the US and Capitol Police flags on Tuesday night

Biden said a prayer, marking the sign of the cross, before he walked over to a trio of wreaths next to the US and Capitol Police flags on Tuesday night

A stream of Capitol Police officers all followed to say goodbye to their colleague who died in the line of duty.  

Pelosi and Schumer said in a statement ahead of the night's procession that the nation was 'united in grief'. 

'The U.S. Congress is united in grief, gratitude and solemn appreciation for the service and sacrifice of Officer Brian Sicknick,' they said. 

'The heroism of Officer Sicknick and the Capitol Police force during the violent insurrection against our Capitol helped save lives, defend the temple of our democracy and ensure that the Congress was not diverted from our duty to the Constitution. 

'His sacrifice reminds us every day of our obligation to our country and to the people we serve.' 

Hundreds of President Trump's supporters stormed into the Capitol  attacking police, smashing windows and sending lawmakers into hiding, after a fiery speech in which Trump urged them to 'fight' his election loss to President Joe Biden. 

The incident led to Trump's second impeachment; he will face trial in the Senate on a charge of inciting insurrection next week.

Since the 1852, the caskets of just three dozen distinguished Americans have been honored at the Capitol.  

Remains of fallen Officer Brian Sicknick arrive at the Capitol
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The urn inscribed with 'Brian David Sicknick' was placed next to the folded flag in the heart of the Capitol rotunda

The urn inscribed with 'Brian David Sicknick' was placed next to the folded flag in the heart of the Capitol rotunda 

An honor guard salutes after placing an urn with the cremated remains and folded flag on a black-draped table in the rotunda

An honor guard salutes after placing an urn with the cremated remains and folded flag on a black-draped table in the rotunda

The president and First Lady hold their hands to their hearts as they take a moment in front of the urn on Tuesday

The president and First Lady hold their hands to their hearts as they take a moment in front of the urn on Tuesday

The 42-year-old's family visited his urn in a private ceremony and were seen being comforted by Sicknick's colleagues on the steps of the Capitol

The 42-year-old's family visited his urn in a private ceremony and were seen being comforted by Sicknick's colleagues on the steps of the Capitol

Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi waits to pay her respects on Tuesday night

Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi waits to pay her respects on Tuesday night 

A placard with Sicknick's photo was displayed outside the Rotunda

A placard with Sicknick's photo was displayed outside the Rotunda

The honor guard carries his remains in the urn into the Capitol on Tuesday night

The honor guard carries his remains in the urn into the Capitol on Tuesday night

The family of US Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick watch as his remains are carried up the steps of the Capitol on Tuesday

The family of US Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick watch as his remains are carried up the steps of the Capitol on Tuesday

A motorcade procession brought the remains of Sicknick to the Capitol around 9.30pm Tuesday

A motorcade procession brought the remains of Sicknick to the Capitol around 9.30pm Tuesday

An honor guard carries an urn with Sicknick's remains from the motorcade as it reached the Capitol on Tuesday

An honor guard carries an urn with Sicknick's remains from the motorcade as it reached the Capitol on Tuesday

An honor guard carries the remains of Sicknick toward the Capitol on Tuesday night

An honor guard carries the remains of Sicknick toward the Capitol on Tuesday night 

Two of Sicknick's colleagues carry his remains into the Capitol as lawmakers and fellow officers look on on Tuesday night

Two of Sicknick's colleagues carry his remains into the Capitol as lawmakers and fellow officers look on on Tuesday night

The signs of the January 6 insurrection that cost Sicknick his life were still visible in this smashed window

The signs of the January 6 insurrection that cost Sicknick his life were still visible in this smashed window 

Officers line the steps to watch the procession as Sicknick's remains are carried into the Capitol to lie in honor on Tuesday

Officers line the steps to watch the procession as Sicknick's remains are carried into the Capitol to lie in honor on Tuesday

Officers pay their respects to their fallen comrade who died protecting the Capitol in the January 6 riot on Tuesday night

Officers pay their respects to their fallen comrade who died protecting the Capitol in the January 6 riot on Tuesday night

Members of then Capitol Police force stand in line to await the arrival of their fallen colleague on Tuesday

Members of then Capitol Police force stand in line to await the arrival of their fallen colleague on Tuesday 

The rotunda wascovered in darkness as family members, lawmakers and law enforcement paid tribute to Sicknick on Tuesday

The rotunda wascovered in darkness as family members, lawmakers and law enforcement paid tribute to Sicknick on Tuesday


A total of 30 government officials, judges and military leaders have 'lay in state' at the Capitol, including Presidents Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. 

The most recent politician to lay in state in the Capitol Rotunda was John Lewis, whose casket was placed there in July of last year.   

The category of 'laying in honor' was created in 1998 in order to recognize distinguished Americans outside of the political realm. 

Sicknick, who died at 42, is the fifth American and third Captiitol police officer to lie in honor.  

His heartbroken family said they wanted to thank lawmakers for 'bestowing this historic honor on our fallen American hero.'

'We also wish to express our appreciation to the millions of people who have offered their support and sympathies during this difficult time,' they said in a statement.

'Knowing our personal tragedy and loss is shared by our nation brings hope for healing.' 

The first two citizens to lay in honor in the rotunda were Capitol Police officers Jacob J. Chestnut and John M. Gibson, who were fatally wounded in 1998 by a gunman who ran to the offices of then-Majority Whip Tom DeLay. 

The other two were civil rights leader Rosa Parks in 2005 and the Reverend Billy Graham in 2018. 

Hundreds of President Trump's supporters stormed into the Capitol attacking police, smashing windows and sending lawmakers into hiding on January 6

Hundreds of President Trump's supporters stormed into the Capitol attacking police, smashing windows and sending lawmakers into hiding on January 6 

During the siege of the Capitol, Sicknick was pepper-sprayed and hit in the head, according to his father. An ambulance crew resuscitated him twice as he was rushed to a nearby hospital. He died the following day. Pictured: police and protesters clashing outside the building on January 6

During the siege of the Capitol, Sicknick was pepper-sprayed and hit in the head, according to his father. An ambulance crew resuscitated him twice as he was rushed to a nearby hospital. He died the following day. Pictured: police and protesters clashing outside the building on January 6 

Members of the Capitol Police pay their respects to late Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick Tuesday night

Members of the Capitol Police pay their respects to late Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick Tuesday night

Members of the National Guard salute Sicknick as he lies in honor in the Capitol on Tuesday before he is laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery

Members of the National Guard salute Sicknick as he lies in honor in the Capitol on Tuesday before he is laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery 

In the past 200 years, the caskets of only about three dozen distinguished Americans have been honored at the Capitol

In the past 200 years, the caskets of only about three dozen distinguished Americans have been honored at the Capitol

Sicknick's body will arrive at the rotunda on Tuesday evening and his fellow officers will begin viewing him at 10 pm

Sicknick's body will arrive at the rotunda on Tuesday evening and his fellow officers will begin viewing him at 10 pm

The Capitol building is pictured on Tuesday afternoon following preparations for the arrival of Sicknick's casket

The Capitol building is pictured on Tuesday afternoon following preparations for the arrival of Sicknick's casket

Sicknick - who had served in the New Jersey Air National Guard- will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

During the siege of the Capitol, Sicknick was pepper-sprayed and hit in the head, according to his father. An ambulance crew resuscitated him twice as he was rushed to a nearby hospital. He died the following day.

Sicknick joined the Capitol Police in 2008.

Last week, New Jersey Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman introduced legislation to award posthumously a Congressional Gold Medal to Sicknick 'for giving his life to protect the Capitol and the Members and staff of Congress on January 6'.

Sicknick is survived by his parents, Charles and Gladys Sicknick, his brothers Ken and Craig, and his longtime girlfriend, Sandra Garza.

From his early days growing up in a New Jersey hamlet, Sicknick wanted to be a police officer. He enlisted in the National Guard six months after graduating high school in 1997

From his early days growing up in a New Jersey hamlet, Sicknick wanted to be a police officer. He enlisted in the National Guard six months after graduating high school in 1997

They released a statement following his death, paying tribute to the late cop, which read: 'There really aren't enough kind words in any language to describe how sweet Brian was. 

'He was truly a lovely, humble soul. We are missing him terribly.

'He was sweet natured through and through. Everyone who met him adored him. 

'He also loved his dachshunds dearly, spoiling them, and ensuring they got the best care possible.'

From his early days growing up in a New Jersey hamlet, Sicknick wanted to be a police officer. 

He enlisted in the National Guard six months after graduating high school in 1997, deploying to Saudi Arabia and then Kyrgyzstan. 

Joining the Guard was his means to joining law enforcement, his family said.

Sicknick joined the Capitol Police in 2008, serving until his death.

He was one of five people who died at the Capitol, or from complications sustained in the aftermath.

More than 100 people who stormed into the building have now been arrested and are facing federal charges. 

The FBI is said to be investigating more than 30 people in relation to Sicknick's murder, but no one has yet been charged. 

Politicians remain shaken by the events, which have led to the erection of eight-foot-high fence around the complex as a temporary measure.

Acting Capitol Police chief Pittman called last week for permanent fencing and back-up security forces near the building.

First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy is pictured looking at the coffin of her slain husband President John F. Kennedy as his casket lays in state at the US Capitol in 1963

First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy is pictured looking at the coffin of her slain husband President John F. Kennedy as his casket lays in state at the US Capitol in 1963

The first two citizens to lay in honor in the rotunda were Capitol Police officers Jacob J. Chestnut and John M. Gibson, who were fatally wounded in 1998 by a gunman who ran to the offices of then-Majority Whip Tom DeLay

The first two citizens to lay in honor in the rotunda were Capitol Police officers Jacob J. Chestnut and John M. Gibson, who were fatally wounded in 1998 by a gunman who ran to the offices of then-Majority Whip Tom DeLay

Then-President Bill Clinton is pictured speaking in the rotunda as Capitol Police Officers John Gibson and Jacob Chestnut lay in honor in July 1998

Then-President Bill Clinton is pictured speaking in the rotunda as Capitol Police Officers John Gibson and Jacob Chestnut lay in honor in July 1998

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