A year after the regular photo, Rep. Andy Kim shows 'caretaker of our democracy'

Kim, who was photographed removing debris from the rotunda after the Capitol attack on January 6, said his immigrant roots

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In Rep. Andy Kim, D-N.J., Riot Jan. 6 Capitol continues to be a difficult topic to discuss with his two young Asian American children. He struggled to find the right words.

“When I first saw my children after Jan. 6, my oldest son came up to me and hugged me and asked if I was doing well. They know something happened, but I haven't talked to them about it yet, ”said Kim. “That’s the kind of question now: Is Jan. 6 How do you fit into the overall story of the world? How are we going to talk about it? "

A photo of Kim cleaning the Capitol rotunda alone following the riot spread. The internet praised the act as a moment of hope after hours of turmoil.

January 2021: Attorney Andy Kim helps clean up after Capitol riots

JAN. 10, 202104: 46

A year later, he is still contemplating his thoughts as the son of a Korean immigrant who took their lives in search of a strong, secure country to call home an invisible home that day, he told NBC Asian America. But the incidents, he said, also revealed a sense of strong security in the country his parents wanted.

"I feel that the feeling of being a caregiver is something my parents have built up in my mind - the love of the country and the ministry in this country, caring for it, trying to keep it," Kim said. "Whether it's the big things I've tried to do, like voting that night on Jan. 6 to secure the Electoral College vote, or simple acts of cleaning down the rotunda. It's all the same for me. All of that is to be the guardian of our democracy."

Former candidate Andy Kim plays a word game with his son as his wife, Kammy Lai, watches with their young son outside a polling station in Bordentown, N.J., in Nov. 6, 2018.

Former candidate Andy Kim plays a word game with his son as his wife, Kammy Lai, watches with their young son outside a polling station in Bordentown, N.J., in Nov. 6, 2018.Mel Evans / AP file

In the year since Kim found himself clearing away the damage to the Capitol, more than 700 supporters of former President Donald Trump, including many who intended to overturn the election results, are now facing criminal charges related to the attack.

A House committee tasked with investigating the incidents is preparing to present its findings in the coming months. Remains of that day have also been collected and donated to the Smithsonian Institution for historical purposes, including the blue suit of J. The crew was wearing Kim when she dumped the rubbish in the garbage bags.

He said the ANC had now "felt a strong sense of patriotism and patriotism" in part, as a result of what he had done for his parents and the home he had chosen.

Kim, the son of a scientist and nurse, said his American family's dream had never included "private jets or rockets going into space." Instead, his parents yearned for a dignified, dignified life, he said. He recalled that much of his feelings for their new world were reflected in his mother's reaction to the family's visit to Washington, D.C., when she was a child.

“They felt like we could get in there. We had every right to enter the building - Capitol, White House - like everyone else, ”he said.

Decades later, as Kim was collecting plastic bottles on the floor after the riots left Rotunda, she said she was reminded of her parents' respect for the country when she came across a plaque on the wall that read, "Under this tablet the United States of America Foundation was laid by George Washington."

Former candidate Andy Kim is holding his son as he finished voting in Nov. 6, 2018, Bordentown, N.J.

Candidate Andy Kim holding her son as he finished voting on Nov. 6, 2018, Bordentown, N.J.Mel Evans / AP file

"That kind of thing took me out for the second time on Jan. 6 and reminded me of the history of this building, and that it was generations before me that built and maintained the Capitol building," he said. "And there will be generations after me who will continue to do the work of this world."

Memories, Kim said, made her look at her work with a different lens, changing her focus on recovering from events.

"The idea of ​​traveling a long way in the world to live in a place where they did not speak their language, without friends and family - was something that attracted them," Kim said. “I hope Jan. 6 will remind us of what drew our families here and reminds us that we should strive for that. That's important to try to maintain. ”

But as Kim expressed her feelings, she also expressed concern about the way the country and governments were reacting to the turmoil. He said he was not sure if the stability required by his immigrant family would be in place for his children. For him, the protest represents the long-running rift in the nation on topics ranging from climate change to the epidemic.

“The issue was not just about the Capitol storm. It was just about divisions in our country, ”he said. “And the fact that we live in a world where such violence of any kind is possible. I actually think we are in a much worse situation than last year. I think the January 6 disaster did not unite us as a country. ”

Americans are divided between these events, from the latest to the following months, research shows.

A poll conducted by the Pew Research Center in the days following the protest revealed that 48 percent of independent Democrats and Democrat-leaning people expressed disappointment, disbelief or fear, compared with 27 percent of their Republican counterparts. And 95 percent of Democrats and Democratic leaners have blamed Trump, while nearly half of Republicans felt the same way.