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Event will honor police who defended U.S. Capitol during Jan. 6 attack

capitol riots
Manuel Balce Ceneta
Supporters of President Donald Trump are confronted by U.S. Capitol Police officers outside the Senate Chamber inside the Capitol, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021 in Washington.

Cincinnatians are gathering this week in remembrance of the police officers and national guardsmen who came to the defense of the U.S. Capitol and democracy during the deadly Jan. 6 attack last year. Since then, more than 700 people have been charged in connection with the attempted insurrection.

Activist Richard Asimus says a nonpartisan program this week will be a solemn remembrance and honor those who put their lives on the line that day.

"They're real heroes, so we decided, let's remember them," he said. "Let's thank them. Let's honor them for protecting our Congress people, our Capitol building and our election process in a democracy. Let's thank them rather than just getting caught in the craziness of that day."

The nonpartisan remembrance program is happening from 1-2 p.m. Thursday in front of Cincinnati City Hall. Speakers include religious leaders from the Christian, Muslim and Jewish faiths; former Hamilton County judges; president of the NAACP Youth and College Division, and several musicians, including the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office Pipe and Drum Corps.

Asimus said he doesn't remember how he first heard of last year's attack, but he and his wife were soon watching the events that day unfurl on TV.

"Then it just felt like, 'What is happening with our democracy and the finishing of the election process or peaceful transfer of power?' " he recalled. "It was just really emotional for me. And I just watched partly in horror, but partly in remorse."

The event Thursday is open to others who felt the same kind of dread on Jan. 6, regardless of their political affiliation, he said.

Jolene Almendarez is the granddaughter of Mexican immigrants who came to San Antonio in the 1960s. She was raised in a military family and has always called the city home. She studied journalism at San Antonio College and earned a bachelor's degree in Journalism and Public Communications from the University of Alaska Anchorage. She's been a reporter in San Antonio and Castroville, Texas, and in Syracuse and Ithaca, New York.