"Our democracy held", said Biden as he awarded Presidential Citizens Medals to recipients in the White House.
US President Joe Biden awarded 14 individuals with the Presidential Citizens Medal for their work protecting the US Capitol during the January 6 insurrection in Washington DC – and for overseeing the 2020 election process despite efforts to overturn the results.
Biden thanked state and local officials, election workers and police officers for their “exemplary deeds of service for their country or their fellow citizens” in upholding the results of the 2020 election and fighting back the Capitol mob.
"On this day of remembrance [...] we honour a remarkable group of Americans who embody the best before, during and after January 6, 2021. [...] America owes you, owes you all, I really mean this, a debt, a debt of gratitude – one we can never fully repay," Biden said.
The ceremony marked the second anniversary of the assault on the Capitol by angry supporters of former President Donald Trump.
"The January 6 insurrection shook our Republic to the core. For many in Congress and across our country, the physical, psychological and emotional scars are still raw," said Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
At least nine people who were at the Capitol on 6 January 2021 died during or after the rioting, including a woman who was shot and killed by police as she tried to break into the House chamber and three other Trump supporters who authorities said suffered medical emergencies.
The ceremony also came as stalemate gripped the House of Representatives, with lawmakers needing 15 rounds of voting to elect the House Speaker.