Rep. Andy Kim (D-N.J.) thinks of the Capitol Rotunda as the “most beautiful room in the most beautiful building” in America and a “physical manifestation of our Constitution.” But when he found himself standing there on the evening of Jan. 6, 2021, just hours after a violent mob of insurrectionists had, in his words, “desecrated and disrespected” the historic monument, all he could think to do was drop to the ground and start to help clean up the mess.
Photographs of Kim’s act of humility quickly went viral on social media. Now, Kim’s blue J. Crew suit that he wore while committing his famous gesture will be featured in the Smithsonian’s American History Museum exhibit that tells the story of the Jan. 6 insurrection.
What he describes as a simple “act of service” has cemented his place in history not only as the first Asian American congressman from New Jersey, but also as a representation of picking up the pieces of the Capitol riot tragedy and turning a new corner.
One year later, it’s still hard for the congressman to make sense of what happened on Jan. 6. The violence has left a permanent mark, not just on his memory but on how he views his role in Congress.
“A lot of the work that I do here at the Capitol revolves around one question: How do we heal this country? We try to find a way where Americans don’t see other Americans as the enemy. Where we don’t attack one another in the hallowed chambers of the United States Capitol,” said Kim.
The memory of Jan. 6 is still visibly upsetting for Kim as he reflects, in this video, on how Jan. 6 wasn’t the turning point he hoped it would be for the country.