It 'physically hurts' to discuss Jan. 6: A capitol police officer details her experience in NYT op-ed
As the House select committee convenes for the final Jan. 6 hearing today, a capitol police officer who was injured in the attack told her story in a New York Times op-ed of how it ‘physically hurts’ to talk about that day.
Caroline Edwards detailed the experience of fighting for both hers and her colleagues' lives during the insurrection, as well as the severe mental and emotional trauma that has followed.
“Many Americans think that the saga of the Capitol riot will soon be at its end,” she wrote in the Times.
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The committee is scheduled to provide the final findings of the Jan. 6 investigation on Wednesday, which will include a 1,000-page report with criminal referrals. But Edwards stated in her op-ed that “there is nothing final” about this week’s hearing. “A funeral doesn't put an end to your grief,” she wrote.
The “proud granddaughter” of a Korean War veteran continued: "For two years, this country has endured an impeachment, lawsuits, criminal investigations, congressional hearings, televised theater.”
In the op-ed, she recounted the day she sat in the waiting room before testifying to the Jan. 6 committee earlier this year, she overheard the TV playing footage from the insurrection in the hearing chamber, and recounted its triggering impact on her.
“And then I heard the noise that haunts me to this day: the roar of the crowd at the riot,” she said. “It instantly transported me back to Jan. 6. I started shaking and sweating. ‘I’m not there. I’m not there,’ I chanted to myself. ‘It’s over. I’m not there.’ But nothing was working. I could feel sweat trickling down my back. I tried to take deep breaths.”
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She ran to the bathroom in an attempt to settle her nerves, and then decided “[The committee] needed to look at me, hear me and understand me. I needed to let America in. I took a deep breath and left the bathroom a different person.”
Still, months later, Edwards says she “can barely talk about it."
"In fact, very few Capitol Police officers can,” she wrote. “Sometimes we hold it to our chests, letting it weigh us down. Sometimes we forget for one moment that it happened, and we feel like ourselves again. Until someone brings it up. And then it physically hurts to talk about it."
“Only by talking to one another and seeking out help and support from our fellow officers will we find peace — and that could take years.”
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