NWA and the River Valley reflect on one year anniversary of Jan. 6

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FORT SMITH, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The Fort Smith community came together Thursday to remember the events of the Capitol attack on Jan. 6, 2021.

A ‘vigil for democracy’ was held at Creekmore Park for the one year anniversary of Jan. 6. Rev. Steven Kurtz said he hopes the vigil encourages others to know that people in the community believe in democracy and the country.

“We really need to speak up for our democracy and show that there are people of goodwill who really love our country and want the best for it,” Kurtz said.

Dr. Andrew Dowdle, U of A political scientist, said the events of Jan. 6 were some of the biggest dates in the history of electoral democracy. He said the political divide played a large role in the events.

“Looking how polarized the environment is, it’s very difficult to get both Republicans and Democrats to cooperate on this issue,” Dowdle said.

Dowdle said more education on election systems and how they work are important steps to help bridge the divide over election results.

“If people are more familiar with elections and election administration, even if they’re not happy with the outcome in terms of their party losing, they felt a little bit more confidence in the system,” Dowdle said.

Rep. Bruce Westerman issued the following statement on the anniversary.

“The attack on the U.S. Capitol one year ago today was wholly un-American and a national disgrace that resulted in the tragic loss of life.  In the face of that adversity, our democratic process prevailed.  Those events did not stop the peaceful transition of power or the continued exercise of democracy. One year later, our nation has proven, once again, that liberty is stronger than fear and violence. I am confident in our country’s resolve to never allow such reprehensible events to occur again.”

Rep. Bruce Westerman

Rep. Steve Womack issued the following statement Thursday on the Jan. 6 attack.

“One year ago, I was at the U.S. Capitol when it was attacked. The safety of law enforcement, staff, and members was threatened as America’s iconic symbol of freedom was desecrated. It will forever be a deeply regretful and shameful day in history. We can’t erase the stain—but we reflect knowing the rule of law and Constitution were upheld. Our burden remains healing the deep divides of our country, addressing the lack of security plan, and ensuring an attack like this never happens again. Let us all use this moment to chart a better course forward together.”

Rep. Steve Womack

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