WASHINGTON – The thuds and the sounds of shattering glass grew louder and more ominous.
Stuck inside the House of Representatives and on the Senate floor, members of Congress and their staffs became steadily more alarmed. Desks and other furniture were quickly employed as barricades, buying time for some to escape to a more secure location.
Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., turned to Rep. Colin Allred, D-Texas, a 6-foot-1 former linebacker for the Tennessee Titans, and in a scene more reminiscent of 9/11 confrontations with terrorist hijackers than a day in Congress, asked him if he was willing to stand and fight.
“He said, ‘I’m ready to go,’” Maloney said.
For U.S. lawmakers, Jan. 6 started with a solemnity befitting a task that has been repeated every four years since the nation’s founding. But a half-hour into a session focused on confirming the election of President-elect Joe Biden, everything changed.
As supporters of President Donald Trump smashed their way into the Capitol – the worst attack on the building since British troops torched the imposing edifice in the summer of 1814 – members of Congress were thrust into a chaotic wartime scene. Tear gas was fired. Guns were drawn. Barricades were erected. Blood was spilled.
A few elected officials reverted to their military backgrounds and stood shoulder to shoulder with Capitol Police. Others drew on medical experience to comfort and assist elderly peers. Many called loved ones and prayed.
“I keep asking, ‘Is this America?’” said Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., after police began evacuating lawmakers to an undisclosed location inside the Capitol.
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Source: USA Today