On Jan. 7, U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick passed due to injuries sustained by the Capitol Hill riot the day prior. According to CNN, Sicknick was pepper sprayed and took a fire extinguisher to the head while protecting the capitol from attacking MAGA rioters. The FBI is currently combing through all available video footage and conducting numerous investigations in order to identify the rioter responsible for his death; pending autopsy results, however, leave all suspects innocent for the time being.
On Feb. 2, the fallen officer was honored in the Rotunda, a U.S. Capitol space designated for the memorial ceremonies of approved eminent citizens. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris along with their spouses and many other government officials, such as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, came to the service to pay their respects.
“We will never forget his sacrifice,” Pelosi said at the memorial. “May we be worthy to carry Brian in our hearts.”
The New-Jersey-born veteran was the sixth U.S. Capitol Police officer to die in the line of duty since 1952, and the fourth to be a victim of an attack on the Capitol grounds, according to The Washington Post.
Once Sicknick’s parents, two brothers, and longtime girlfriend got a chance to say their goodbyes, the loyal officer was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery.
Sicknick was a trustworthy, kind, and dedicated member of the Washington DC police force. At the age of 42, Sicknick was fully committed to serving the country, starting in 1997 when he joined the New Jersey National Guard. After being honorably discharged in 2003, Sicknick continued his patriotic journey by becoming a member of the Capitol Police in 2008.
Throughout his career, Sicknick put 100 percent effort into each of his endeavors. The loyal officer was, according to his family, “very serious about showing up to work on time and refused to to call out sick unless absolutely necessary.”
Sicknick was a strong and dedicated man who was additionally known for his bipartisanship and kindness. Multiple congressional leaders recognized the officer as a “peacekeeper” who was “caught in the wrong place at the wrong time,” according to CBS.
“He spent his life trying to help other people,” Sicknick’s eldest brother, Ken Sicknick, told ProPublica.
While stationed at the U.S. capitol, Republican Sicknick made friends with members of the opposing political party, such as Pelosi’s former staffer Democratic Caroline Behringer. The two government officials bonded over their love of the outdoors and kindly greeted one another as they headed to their positions. After the 2016 presidential election in which Republican Donald Trump was voted into office, Sicknick kept up his heartfelt demeanor and comforted a friend in need.
“I collapsed into him in tears and I knew he was a Trump supporter –he was an outspoken Trump supporter– and he put that aside in that moment to comfort a friend and it was a small gesture of kindness, but one that has always stuck with me,” Behringer said in an interview with USA Today.
Sicknick has worked in many different environments, but has always left an impression on those around him.
“Talk to his colleagues, and they will tell you that Brian was a kind and humble man, with profound inner strength, the quiet rock of his unit,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said.
Although his death was the result of a political divide, Sicknick’s family has made it clear that they do not want to use this incident as a means for further division but as a reason for national unification. Officer Sicknick was a brave individual who was willing to risk his life to protect the country that he loved. His passing shows America’s need for peace instead of the intense political strife that it is currently experiencing. Americans should come together despite their differing views in order to rebuild a peaceful country and pay tribute to the loyal patriot and peacekeeper Officer Brian Sicknick.