October 6, 2022

Center for Politics presents awards to defenders of the Capitol on Jan. 6

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) – January 6, a day that shook the nation still resonates across the country more than a year later. Now, the UVA Center for Politics is honoring some of those who defended the U.S. Capitol Building by giving them Defender of Democracy awards.

U.S. Virginia Senator Tim Kaine was on grounds Friday to present the awards. These are law enforcement personnel who were recognized:

Private First Class Harry A. Dunn, Officer Caroline Edwards, Officer Michael Fanone, Sergeant Aquilino Gonell, Private First Class Eugene Goodman, Officer Daniel Hodges, Private First Class Howard Liebengood (posthumously), Officer Jeffrey Smith (posthumously) and Private First Class Brian Sicknick (posthumously).

“We normally don’t give awards like “Defender of Democracy” because don’t we take it for granted that everyone is a defender of democracy…we can’t take it for granted,” Kaine said.

Metropolitan Police Officer Daniel Hodges was in the Capitol during the violent attacks, protecting others.

“It’s extremely humbling and I’m honored to be here,” Hodges said, “It’s great to see we have support when there is so much negativity out there and so much misinformation.”

Kaine says this day is full circle for the Commonwealth.

“The last time there was a domestic insurrection against the United States government, Virginia was leading it.”

Kaine says the bravery of officers who defended the nation paint the Commonwealth in a more positive light than before.

“They didn’t just defend the Capitol that day. They testified in a very brave way, people threatening them and getting in their face and hassling them, but they’ve been willing to do their duty and so that’s why I think it’s really important for the University of Virginia to honor them,” Kaine said.

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