Remembering Officer Chestnut and Detective Gibson

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And every year at this time, we take a moment to step back from our work, put aside our differences, and remember these good men whose sacrifice stands as a permanent reminder of the debt we owe to them, and to all those who continue to put themselves on the front line every day to defend the rest of us — from the Capitol Police Force, to local law enforcement officials, to those serving overseas.

America has always been blessed to have men and women rise up in every generation who are willing to put their nation ahead of their lives. Today, we honor two in particular who did so in this building. Officer Chestnut was a 20-year veteran of the Air Force, a loving husband, and a father of five.

Detective Gibson had served three years on Congressman Tom DeLay’s protective detail. Both had served 18 years on the Capitol Police force. A friend of Detective Gibson’s recalled shortly after the shooting that just a few days before, John told him he’d never had to draw his weapon on the job. Yet despite being mortally wounded on the day he died, John did not hesitate to return fire, wounding the intruder. Calling upon his instincts and training, Detective Gibson’s actions saved many lives that day.   

Officer Chestnut and Detective Gibson exemplify the best America has to offer. And that’s why we honor them here today.  

My friend the Majority Leader is a former Capitol Police officer. He understands more than anyone in this Chamber the honor and dedication, as well as the risks associated with the job. I know he joins me in honoring Jacob Joseph Chestnut and John Michael Gibson, as well as all Capitol Police who put their lives on the line every day to protect us and this institution.

To all members of the Capitol Police force: thank you for your service and your professionalism. Your duties do not go unnoticed. And on this day that we remember Officer Chestnut and Detective Gibson, I would also like to take a moment to remember the families of these good men who have been so deeply affected by this tragedy. Our prayers continue to go out to them. May God continue to protect them as their loved ones protected us.