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Remember what happened

I was struck by something President Trump tweeted in the midst of the chaos he incited at the Capitol building on Wednesday. The tweet was a tepid call for his supporters to stand down and an instruction to “remember this day forever.” I agree with the President, we must always remember what happened.

We must remember what happened when the same people who fanned the flames of hatred and division that lead to the violent mob attacking the Capitol try to disavow it and act like they had no part in it. Instead, we must always call them to account for their role in the attack and, in the future, we need to speak out against such rhetoric before it incites further violence. We must not be neutral or silent when we see false talking points circulating on social media or being repeated by friends and family.

We must remember what happened when people who were there, including local politicians like Mike Azinger and Eric Barber, falsely claim that it was mostly peaceful or that they were allowed to be there. Instead, we must remind these people that they were part of the worst attack on the Capitol since the war of 1812. They were part of the same mob that broke down doors and windows, part of the same mob that assaulted police officers trying to stop them, and part of the same mob that killed Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick. We must not let them disclaim their responsibility for these atrocities. We must not forget the gravity of their actions.

President Trump deleted the tweet in question, but his admonishment was correct. We must always remember what happened on January 6th, 2021. The efforts to get us to forget are already underway. We are already seeing deflections blaming this attack on other groups or making comparisons to other protests that turned violent. But we must remember this day forever. If we forget, by allowing the events to be whitewashed or minimized, we will only encourage those who attacked our democracy on January 6th to act again. If we forget, we take the chance that the next time this mob might win.

Neal Wilson

Williamstown

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