Reid pays tribute to fallen Capitol police officers

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Below are Senator Reid’s remarks as delivered on the Senate floor:

“Mr. President, every day, people from across this great nation and around the globe come here – to visit the Capitol – to see the seat of American democracy.
“Every day, those of us who are fortunate to have been elected by our homes states to serve in Congress also come here to represent this nation and the American people in that democracy.
“And every day, a brave and dedicated group of men and women come here to serve as Capitol Police Officers, to ensure that whether we’re here to work or to visit we are safe from harm.
“In 1998, two of those dedicated police officers gave their lives while protecting the Capitol. They were Special Agent John Gibson and Officer Jacob Chestnut.
“Thirteen years ago yesterday, a man entered the House side of the Capitol Building with a gun and shot Officer Chestnut at point blank range. Agent Gibson warned tourists and staff to take cover and then confronted the gunman. Although Agent Gibson was also shot, he prevented anyone else from being killed.
“Both officers died that day. They served a combined 36 years on the force, protecting their fellow men and women.

“When I first came to Washington, D.C., I worked the night shift – the swing shift – as a Capitol police officer. That’s why, Mr. President, I feel a particular closeness to the Capitol Police.

“When I worked I was never in danger. I was never called upon to put my life on the line. I only hope I would have shown the bravery that Agent Gibson and Officer Chestnut displayed that afternoon they were killed. 

“I was a member of the Senate when Agent Gibson and Officer Chestnut gave their lives to save the lives of others. I know nothing can make up for the loss of a cherished loved one, but I hope their families and friends take some comfort knowing that those of us who were here that day hold them in our memories and in our hearts.
“And while I know it’s little solace to their families, the tragedy of that day made the Capitol a safer place. It led to the construction of the Capitol Visitor Center, which prevents a mad man, like the one who shot Agent Gibson and Officer Chestnut,  from entering the Capitol. ”

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