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Laramie organizers honor lives lost during Jan. 6 Capitol attack vigil

A logo stating "Jan 6 Day of Remembrance and Action"

Some Laramie residents gathered Thursday in front of the Albany County Courthouse to honor the lives lost during and after the attack on the U.S. Capitol Building last year.

Thursday marked the one year anniversary of the attack, during which pro-Trump rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Jackie Ziegler, Unitarian Universalist minister and one of the event's organizers, said it's important to honor the lives lost last year, and to do the work of mending American democracy.

"My husband and I were watching it and we were horrified," she said. "Our democracy is a fragile, fragile institution and it was made even more fragile by people attacking it."

Five people died during the assault on the Capitol, including a police officer and a rioter. And four Capitol Police Officers who fought the mob that day died by suicide in the weeks that followed.

Ziegler spoke during the event Thursday, as did former state representative Charles Pelkey, Rep. Trey Sherwood (HD-14) and Albany County Commission Chair Pete Gosar. Gosar spoke about the "Big Lie" that precipitated and inspired the Capitol attack: the false claim that the 2020 presidential election was rigged. While Sherwood urged political action.

"As a historian, it is important to me to reflect on these moments in history and gather the community for civil dialogue," she said. "But as a representative, I want to encourage you to take action. To not just reflect, but to continue your engagement by being registered to vote, getting your friends registered to vote, attending city council and county commission meetings, sign up for the legislative alert … Right now we're tired, we're frustrated, but if we don't make our voices heard, we don't make change happen."

Ziegler said American democracy needs defending and rebuilding, as it did in the wake of the Battle of Gettysburg. She even read the Gettysburg Address during the vigil Thursday.

"The parallel is our capitol became a battleground," she said. "And we need to honor the principles of that democracy Abraham Lincoln said they fought for."

Jeff is a part-time reporter for Wyoming Public Media, as well as the owner and editor of the Laramie Reporter, a free online news source providing in-depth and investigative coverage of local events and trends.
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