WASHINGTON, DC - "He loved his girlfriend, his dogs, and the New Jersey Devils," said Senate Majority leader Charles E. Schumer on Feb 3 of Capitol Police Officer and New Jersey native Brian David Sicknick.
Members of the United States Congress gathered in the Capitol Rotunda in the morning of Feb 3 to honor the memory of Sicknick, 42, who was killed during the insurrection leveled at the Capitol on Jan 6 2021. Directly under the Capitol Dome, Sicknick's ashes had been placed next to a folded American flag as members of the House and Senate joined his fellow members of law enforcement and the United States Air Force National Guard in a solemn memorial. Officer Sicknick's family, many of whom still reside in Middlesex County, New Jersey, near where the officer grew up in South River, surrounded Sicknick, whom Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi described as a "true patriot."
In an earlier statement, the family offered gratitude: “The family of U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick thanks the Congressional leadership 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. Knowing our personal tragedy and loss is shared by our nation brings hope for healing.” Sicknick's parents Gladys and Charles and his brothers Ken and Craig Sicknick were among the family members at the memorial, as was Sicknick's partner Sandra Garza.
A private memorial ceremony had been held earlier for family members. Last night, President Joseph Biden and First Lady Jill Biden stopped at the Capitol to honor Officer Sicknick.
The ceremony began with an invocation by the retired House Chaplain acknowledging the "grief, shock, uncertainty and anger that continue to exist at the Capitol, as National Guard troops still provide security at "the People's House."
Schumer said that there were "deep scars in this building." He acknowledged Officer Sicknick as a devoted police officer who was "In the wrong place at the wrong time on a day when peace was shattered." He urged Americans to be "peacekeepers" in Sicknick's memory.
Brian Sicknick became a member of the Air National Guard in 1997, being deployed twice to service in the Middle East. The United State Air Force Band Singing Sergeants performed America, the Beautiful, based on a poem by Katherine Lee Bates, at his memorial. Their performance focused on the lyrics highlighting heroism:
"O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!"
Pelosi commented on the lyrics and the presence of notables at the ceremony as a "testament of great respect for Brian and the Capitol Police Force." She made a promise to the Sicknick family and to the nation that the officer's service would not be forgotten. "We will never forget," said the Speaker who quoted Abraham Lincoln's reference to the "harsh artillery of time" that may cause memory to dim.
Retired Senate Chaplain Rev. Barry C. Black returned to the lyrics of America by denoting Sicknick's participation in "liberating strife." He also quoted Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, saying that Sicknick gave his country "his last full measure of devotion."
Following the ceremony, members of Congress, including New Jersey Senators Cory Booker and Robert Menendez, paid their respects to Sicknick.
Officer Sicknick will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
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