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WATCH | ‘Democracy was at a tipping point’: Valley memorializes officers who died after US Capitol riot

A candle rests on a staircase at the Canfield Village Green’s gazebo during a Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022, vigil for the five Capitol Police officers who died following a riot at the U.S. Capitol one year prior.
A candle rests on a staircase at the Canfield Village Green’s gazebo during a Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022, vigil for the five Capitol Police officers who died following a riot at the U.S. Capitol one year prior.

[CORRECTION: Three of the officers who died after the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol were from the Metropolitan Police Department.]

One year after hundreds of President Donald Trump’s supporters led a deadly insurrection in the U.S. Capitol, Mahoning Valley residents held a candlelight vigil in frigid temperatures around the Canfield Village Green’s gazebo to remember the Capitol police officers who died.

Two Capitol police officers and three Metropolitan Police Department officers died in connection to the Capitol riot, The New York Times reported.

Ron Cabuno, host of the Mahoning Valley Daily Podcast, said he found similar services happening around Ohio, and wanted Youngstown to be a part of the remembrance.

“I wanted to make sure Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley were represented as well and counted amongst those who won’t forget this day,” he said.

Cabuno said no country is immune to people using violence for political measures, not even the United States.

“I think that if we can get back to just having arguments over policy, that would be great,” he said. “We see things happening in developing nations that we don’t think could ever happen at home. … We are a little overly confident in the guardrails of democracy.”

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Ron Cabuno, host of the Mahoning Valley Daily Podcast and coordinator of a candlelight vigil for the five police officers who have died following the Jan. 6 riot in the U.S. Capitol, reads their names Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022, at the Canfield Village Green gazebo. Robert K. Yosay | Mahoning Matters

Cabuno said watching the riot unfold on TV was a surreal experience.

“Seeing the video footage. … That day of our hallowed halls of power being overrun by a mob made me question whether you stumbled upon a horror movie, or woke up in the Twilight Zone,” he said.

“Unfortunately, the five officers who died as a result of the riot are not the only ones who lost their lives,” he said. “The soul of America was gravely wounded that day, but the spirit of America is and always will be resilient.”

Tony Stratis, a Canfield resident, spoke during the vigil and led a moment of silence while reading the names of the Capitol officers who died:

Tony Stratis, a Canfield resident, spoke during the vigil and led a moment of silence while reading the names of the Capitol and Metropolitan officers who died:

Stratis said it’s vitally important for our local democracy to have events that highlight this inflection point in national history.

“This was a day our democracy was at a tipping point. … It needs to be remembered as that day,” he said. “It was not a day that patriots did their duty, it was a day when domestic terrorists put democracy under attack for following what was a typical event every election.”

Stratis said the deadly insurrection was not a “left or right” issue.

“This isn’t. … Republican or Democrat and black or white, we need to put our love of country above love of party,” he said.

Stratis said even though Trump supporters claimed the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent, it was actually the most secure in history.

The 2020 presidential election had the largest increase in voting between presidential elections in history with a 67% turnout, up five percentage points from 2016, according U.S. Census Bureau data.

“It was the highest voter turnout, and that same election you had candidates on both ends of the aisle get elected and no one argued [them] getting elected,” he said.

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Dozens gathered Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022, at the Canfield Village Green gazebo for a candlelight vigil for the five Capitol Police officers who died following the Jan. 6 riot in the U.S. Capitol. Robert K. Yosay | Mahoning Matters

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Howland, D-13th, said as a member of Congress and the United States House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch, he’s worked with colleagues to implement the Emergency Security Supplemental Government Funding Bill, which President Joe Biden signed into law in July.

The bill provides additional fiscal year 2021 emergency funding “to address the aftermath of the January 6 insurrection, needs arising from the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan and expenses incurred on the Capitol complex as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the White House stated.

“This bill also delivered critical funding to support our heroic rank and file Capitol Police officers who continue to grapple with the lasting impacts of that day,” Ryan said in a news release.

Ryan said Democrats and Republicans need to work together to heal this country and move forward following the insurrection.

“As we reflect on this dark day in our country’s history, let us also reaffirm the sanctity of our democratic process and recommit to a government that works for all Americans,” he said.

Stratis said he hopes people look back on Jan. 7 as a day our country rose together to remember those who lost their lives in the attack.

“We always talk about how on Sept. 11, 2021, we were hurt, but on Sept. 12, we rose together,” he said. “I hope that one day, Jan. 7 becomes that new day and we remember the officers.”

This story was originally published January 7, 2022 4:00 AM.

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