About a week ago -- and one day apart -- two men were laid to rest at
Arlington National Cemetery...the first two officers of the United States
Capitol Police to lay down their lives in the line of duty. Before they
were buried, 58-year-old Jacob Chestnut and 42-year-old Michael Gibson lay
in state, their flag-draped coffins underneath the dome in the Capitol
Building in Washington, DC...just yards away from where they died, in a
shoot out with an apparently deranged gunman.
We decided to join the thousands of visitors who have been descending on
the Capitol to pay tribute to officer Chestnut and detective Gibson.
"Well we came here to pay respects to our heros. And, this is a national
tragedy. And, we feel that we are also victims. This has been a source of
pride for all immigrants, and I'm an immigrant. This is where decisions
were made to allow immigrants to come several hundred years ago and I think
we owe it to America to come and pray and to give our respects to these
"We feel that they died and gave their life to protect those other people
that come to visit as well as people that live here. So, it's in honor of
With the memory of that deadly gun battle inside the Capitol Building still
fresh...we asked Louise Kersey of West Babylon, New York if she feared for
her safety, as she walked the halls where blood was shed so recently.
Louise: "No, actually, we feel more safe because we feel there's probably
extra security here since this happened. We did not change our plans at
all about coming to Washington or coming to visit the Capitol. We feel
that we're practically safe."
"Well, we decided it was a sad event and the children were here anyway, so
we wanted to show them what history is being made here today, about the
attack on the Capitol. And, it's a unique experience. And, we just want
to show our support for the slain officers' families."
"I'm thankful that I'm able to be here at the Capitol of our United States.
I'm just really sorry about what happened to those two men. And,
I guess we came here to pay our respects and I'm sorry. I hope something
happens to whoever did that."
The common feeling among all, was that these two Capitol Police Officers
were heroes, who gave their lives for their country. The visitors who
mourned them came from as nearby as Maryland, and as far away as California
"We're just tourists from Holland and we heard on Friday when we arrived in
America what was happening to the cops and it's terrible. It's a huge
sight to see. And it's tragedy all over."
"For sure, times have changed. No question about that. I never imagined
anything like this could happen. I don't know, maybe that's the way the
country is now. There's violence everywhere. People seem to have low
respect. We notice the place is a little dirty since the last time we were
here. I suppose it's the mood of the country that things are changing."
Or maybe...just...maybe...the sacrifices of Capitol police officers Jacob
Chestnut and Michael Gibson will hallow the halls of Congress...and, by
touching the hearts and minds of all who visit the Capitol, the gift of
these two men may -- in whatever measure -- serve to ennoble us all, and
help elevate the mood of America."
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