Harry Dunn’s Statement on Receiving the Presidential Citizens Medal

3 mins read

Thank you, Mr. President. It is the honor of a lifetime to receive this award from you. I accept it humbly, and with gratitude to you and the other distinguished guests who are present today. I would like to thank my parents, Harry and Joyce Dunn, my daughter, Daphne, my sisters Janice and Lisa, as well as Crystal and Cristen who could not be here today, and to my cousin, Jarryd, for being here. I firmly believe that a man is only as strong as the family and his support system who surrounds him. I have been blessed with two loving parents who taught me to protect the things that I love, whether they were my sisters growing up, members of Congress, or my daughter, Daphne. And for you Daphne, I stood my ground on January 6, 2021, and every day since so that you can grow up in a country worthy of the label “land of the free and home of the brave.” I would like to lastly but certainly not least, acknowledge the men and women of the US Capitol Police, specifically the First Responders Unit, and to the men and women of the Metropolitan Police Department, for their bravery that day and everyday since and to all the other law enforcement partners who played a role in restoring order that day.

I think it’s important to note that I accept this medal not as a Capitol Hill police officer, a job I have held for 15 years. Rather, I am here as a citizen, as an American. What I did on January 6, I did as a police officer. It was my job. But what I have done every day since, I do because I am an American. It is not my job; it is my responsibility as a citizen of the United States. As with so many, the events of January 6 changed me. I suddenly understood what President Kennedy meant when he said, “ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” He wasn’t talking to police officers. He wasn’t talking to members of Congress. He was talking to us, the American people. We are the last true safeguard for freedom and democracy.

And so I want to ask those here today, or wherever you are in this great land, to join me as we stand our ground together. As Americans we have a sacred responsibility to protect the country we love. My journey doesn’t end by accepting this medal. In fact, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Because until there is nothing that can be done there is always something that can be done.

Thank you.

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Harry Dunn is a Capitol Hill Police Officer who fought side by side with his fellow officers on January 6 to protect Congress and democracy. He was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal on January 6, 2023. Dunn’s memoir “Standing My Ground” will be available on October 24, 2023.

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