Episode for February 2, 2024
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“American Shield is an all-American tale of duty and determination—beautifully told by an immigrant, a veteran, and a patriot.” —Nancy Pelosi, Speaker Emerita of the United States House of Representatives
Set against the extraordinary events of January 6, 2021, Aquilino Gonell’s inspirational memoir is rooted in the joys and struggles of the immigrant experience that have long defined the American experiment
Aquilino Gonell came to the United States from the Dominican Republic as a young boy. Although he spoke no English, he dedicated himself to his adopted land, striving for the American dream. Determined to be a success story, he joined the army to pay for college. He saw action in Iraq and returned home with PTSD. Believing in the promise of our government, he focused on healing himself and supporting his family. His hard work paid off when he landed a coveted position with the United States Capitol Police and rose to the rank of sergeant.
January 6, 2021, changed everything. When insurrectionists stormed the Capitol, Gonell bravely faced down the mob attempting to thwart the peaceful transfer of power. The brutal injuries he sustained that day would end his career in law enforcement. But when some of the very people he put his life on the line to protect downplayed or denied the truth of that day, he chose to speak out against the injustice done to him and the country. Chronicling what it means to live a life of conviction, one that adheres to the best ideas of our democracy, American Shield is a bold testament to the power of truth, justice, and accountability from a highly decorated officer and immigrant who exemplifies the greatest aspirations of a grateful nation.
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