Beneath a pale winter light and the glare of television cameras, it seemed hard not to see the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot for what it was. The violent storming of the Capitol by Donald Trump supporters bent on upending the election of Joe Biden was as clear as day: democracy under siege, live-streamed in real time.

Yet a year later, when it comes to a where-were-you moment in U.S. history, there is far from national consensus.

Such a disparity in memory may be inevitable in our hyper-polarized politics, but it’s striking given the stark clarity of Jan. 6 at the time and in its immediate aftermath. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said then that “the president bears responsibility” for the attacks. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., then the majority leader, said: “They tried to disrupt our democracy. They failed.”

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