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Doylestown candlelight “Vigil for Democracy” marks Jan. 6


Editor's Note:  This story has been updated to reflect that the vigil memorialied five law enforcement officers who died in the days and months that followed the violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6. They did not die on Jan. 6.

They pledged allegiance to the flag and listened as the Star Spangled Banner was sung from the steps of the former Bucks County Courthouse.

They held candles under a moonlit night and they remembered the day two years ago when a violent mob stormed the Capitol in Washington, hoping to stop the certification of the 2020 election.

Attended by about 50 people, January 6th’s “Vigil for Democracy” was both a call to protect democracy and a solemn remembrance of the five law enforcement officers who died in the wake of the day's events and the many injured.

“It was an assault on the fabric of our government,” said Bob Harvie, chairman of the Bucks County Commissioners, before he addressed the crowd. “It was an attempt to overthrow the government of the United States.”

When he moved to the courthouse stairs, the commissioner, and longtime history teacher, called for everyone to “do more” to protect the nation’s democracy.

“In some ways we must do more; we must ask ourselves, ‘what more can we do, what’s the next level I have to go to?’”

Quoting the Irish statesman Edmund Burke, Harvie said, “The only thing necessary for good to triumph over evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Throughout the chilly evening, speakers, such as Central Bucks School Board member Karen Smith, said education is critical in preventing a similar attack in the future and ensuring democracy thrives.

“I am entering my 8th year on the school board,” said Smith, “and from my seat there I can sense some of the same forces attempting to dismantle another cornerstone of our democracy, public education.”

Tabitha Dell’Angelo, who also sits on the CB school board, said, “Indoctrination allowed those in power to manipulate people” and helped fuel the storming of the Capitol building. Education, media literacy and “teaching people how to vet sources is so important, so that we don’t find ourselves in this position again,” she said.

Indivisible Bucks County leader, Kierstyn Zolfo, encouraged the crowd to talk with friends, family and neighbors who may feel differently about what’s happening in the country.

“Tell them how you feel, what you think about the importance of democracy. Listen to people and make the most of the relationships you share with them” to discuss why democracy matters to everyone, she said.

Zolfo noted it was important to hold the vigil in Doylestown, the county seat, because of Bucks’ “oversized role” in the insurrection.

The county had six people arrested Jan.6, more than any other county in Pennsylvania except for Philadelphia, which had seven. Only 14 counties nationwide had more January 6 defendants, according to The George Washington University's Program on Extremism.

More than a dozen Pennsylvania Republicans, including some from Bucks, joined with other party officials and candidates to sign an “alternate certificate” of election results in the event Donald Trump was found to have won the 2020 election, according to American Oversight, a watchdog group that sought the records in a Freedom of Information Act request last year.

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