For historian Douglas Brinkley, Jan. 6 is a day to remember why it’s important to fight for democracy.
An outgoing president inciting a riot at the Capitol is historically significant, he says, and Americans need to remember this event for years to come.
“It’s a dark day on the calendar of American history,” he says. “But we have to use the anniversary every year to remind people how fragile our democracy is.”
Brinkley joined Here & Now during the insurrection last year. As the events unfolded, he sounded stunned as he explained that he’d never seen anything like this before.
Insurrection is the right word to describe what happened on Jan. 6, 2021 — but it’s the date that matters most, Brinkley says.
“Now every Jan. 6, we’re going to have to remember what happened,” he says. “I worry if we lose the date that it will lose some of its wallop over time.”
One year later, Jan. 6 holds an “even more hallowed place” in history, he says. In his remarks on the anniversary, Attorney General Merrick Garland noted that 725 people have been charged for their role in the attack.
Americans must also remember the people who died during the insurrection and afterward, Brinkley says.