President Biden on Friday awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal to a number of police officers, election workers, and state and local officials who worked to defend American democracy against the lies that perpetuated the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack.
The accolades, as well as the president's preceding remarks, came exactly two years after the riot, which saw a number of former President Donald Trump's supporters storm the U.S. Capitol in an effort the overturn the 2020 election.
The Presidential Citizens Medal, which is among the nation's highest civilian honors, is given to those who have "performed exemplary deeds of service for their country or their fellow citizens," quotes The New York Times. Fourteen individuals were awarded Friday, including Officer Michael Fanone, who was injured during the riot, and former Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers, who testified before the Jan. 6 committee and verified his state's election results despite pressure from Trump.
"It's not exaggeration to say America owes you, owes you all — I really mean this — a debt, a debt of gratitude," Biden said during the ceremony, "one we can never fully repay unless we live up to what you did."
Three of the medals were given posthumously to officers who defended the Capitol during the riot but died later due to injuries or suicide, CNBC reports.
Friday's anniversary also arrives mere weeks after the House committee investigating the riot released its finished report.