January 6th, 2021: One Year After the Capitol Insurrection


Katie Fisher

January 6th, 2021.

A day that began as any other would. Yet, a day that would end with the very structure of American democracy threatened. 

A day where we glimpsed the darkest depths of human struggle. 

A day where lives were lost. 4 individuals attended a rally, and never returned home to their families.

A day where Brian Sicknick made the ultimate sacrifice on Capitol Hill. 

And still, for many Americans who watched it on TV, a day where the events for many are foggy. A dark jumble of thoughts overcrowded by an arching feeling of doom and destruction. 

But, a day that will define the flame of American democracy as much as the day that flame was lit as the final drop of ink dried on the Constitution. 

A cloud that can be easily lifted with simple clarification of the day’s events. Clarification that can come like a light in the dark. 

A day where the flame lit by the Founding Fathers began to teeter on its base.

2:10 AM – Raphael Warnack wins Georgia Senate seat.

The Georgia Senate run-off race came to a head, with Raphael Warnack winning the seat against Senator Kelly Loeffler, marking Warnack as the first African American Democrat to serve in Georgia.

The flame burns brighter, growing slightly at the base, forming a wider, stronger foundation. 

11:00 AM – Trump Rally begins on Ellipses.

Supporters of President Trump began to gather for a rally on the Ellipses: a 52-acre park south of the White House. 

The flame remains the same, flickering slightly as a small wind is picking up. 

12:00 PM – Trump begins his rally speech.

Trump began his speech at the rally to his supporters. He urges them, “We will never give up. We will never concede.”

The flame shudders slightly. The wind begins to grow in force.  

12:30 PM – Crowds begin to rally outside the Capitol.

A small portion of Trump’s supporters begin to gather outside of the Capitol. A majority still remain at the ongoing rally. 

The flame shakes as the base is barraged at random beats. 

1:00 PM – Crowd passes barrier while Senators and Vice President Pence walk to House Chambers. 

An initial wave of protesters push past the barrier of the Capitol, and start to breach through the border of Capitol Police.  

Senators and Vice President Pence begin the walk from the Senate to the House Chambers. 

The flame’s shaking base continues to grow in strength with tremors coming more frequently. The flame itself shrinks in size. 

1:05 PM – Congress meets to affirm Biden’s win. Pence publishes a letter that he will not intervene in the electoral count. 

House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, brings the joint session of Congress to order. 

Pence publishes a letter stating that he will not intervene with the electoral vote counting. 

“It is my considered judgment that my oath to support and defend the Constitution Constrains Me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not.” 

The flame recovers in size, growing slightly, but not to its full size. The shaking ground stills for a small period. 

1:10 PM – Trump ends his speech, urges ralliers to march. 

Trump finished his rally speech, urging his supporters to the Capital.

“We’re going to the Capitol,” Trump said. “But we’re going to try and give our Republicans, the weak ones because the strong ones don’t need any of our help. We’re going to try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country.” 

So let’s walk down Pennsylvania Avenue.” 

The flame shutters, with the trembles growing in strength. Cracks begin to form around the base.  

1:30 PM – Trump supporters begin to march to the Capitol.

As the rally concluded, thousands of Trumps’ supporters began the two mile walk from the Ellipse to Capitol Hill. 

The cracks continue to rise along the base, with the quakes growing in strength with every step taken. The flame shutters. 

1:30 PM – Crowd overtakes Capitol Police, making their way to steps. 

The crowd continues to expand, overpowering the Capitol Police, and begin the mass exodus onto the Capitol stairs. 

As the Capitol steps are ascended, the flame shrinks. The base cracks, chunks begin to fall away.

Democracy begins to shatter. 

1:35 PM – Mitch McConnell warns against overturning election. 

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell warned against overturning the election results, telling how, “If this election were overturned by mere allegations from the losing side, our democracy would enter a death spiral.” 

The flame comes back from a small bud, growing in size and intensity. Some of the cracks repair, but the shaking never seizes its endless siege. 

2:15 PM – Rioters breach Capital’s interior

The mob finally breaches the interior of the Capitol. Windows are shattered, doors ripped off their hinges. Hundreds of years of physical history destroyed in the blink of an eye. 

The flame’s base finally caves, casting its stories down into immense violence, but still it burns. 

2:20 PM – Congress adjourns, begins to evacuate.

The joined Senate meeting is then called to recess, with the building put under lockdown shortly after. Congress members begin to evacuate the House Chamber shortly after. 

The flame stills, almost holding its breath, all while the cracks rise higher from the base, threatening to extinguish it all together. 

4:05 PM – Biden tells Trump to “demand an end to this siege.” 

President-elect Joe Biden delivers a speech, calling for Trump to, “demand an end to this seige.” 

With every word, a small crack disappears on the flame’s base, only for it to be quickly shattered once more. 

4:17 PM – Trump tweets video urging rioters to return home.

Trump uploaded a video on his twitter account urging rioters to return to their homes. Yet, he continued to repeat falsities of election fraud. 

I know your pain. I know you’re hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us,” Trump said. “ So go home. We love you.” 

Cracks begin to mend along the base of the flame, but the plaster is only a minute amount. The flame continues to glow softly, but the trembles are subsiding. 

5:40 PM – Police begin to clear rioters. 

Capitol Police began to secure the interior of the building, pushing out the last remnants of the mob. 

The flame’s base recovers, becoming more stable, even as the trembles still remain. But, it begins to fall to silence. 

6:00 PM – Washington D.C. curfew goes into effect. 

Muriel Bowser, Washington D.C’s mayor, implemented a mandatory curfew in the city. 

Silence descends fully on the flame. For the first time in 24 hours, all is still. All is quite, yet the ember continues to remain small. 

8:06 PM – Pence reopens the Senate. 

Vice President Pence reopened the Senate after all members retired to the chamber stating, “Let’s get back to work.” 

The flame grows, cracks begin to close. The tremors have completely stopped. 

9:00 PM – Pelosi brings House back into session.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi brings the House back into session vowing how, “justice will be done.”

The flame continues to blossom. The cracks are sealed, the darkness lightens with the dawn of a new day. 

January 7th, 3:42 AM. 

After the final electoral vote was tallied, Joe Biden was officially sworn in as the 46th President-elect of the United States of America. 

The flame glows alive once again. But, the small cracks still remain. The base is still fragile.

We must continue to grow with the flame.

We must forgive. 

We must burn brighter.