91-year-old man to attend 18th presidential inauguration

AP News
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Posted: Jan 19, 2017 2:20 PM

SALEM, N.J. (AP) — Although he's a Democrat who voted for Hillary Clinton, a 91-year-old New Jersey man will still be traveling to Washington to witness his 18th presidential inauguration.

B. Harold Smick Jr. still can vividly remember Jan. 20, 1941 — the day he witnessed Franklin D. Roosevelt become the only U.S. president sworn into a third term, WCAU-TV reported (http://bit.ly/2k2DbtZ ).

"It really made you feel like you were proud of the country," Smick said.

That inauguration was the first for the Salem native, who was just 15 when he began the tradition that he will continue Friday.

"(Donald Trump is) a different person from any person who's ever been president of the United States," Smick said.

A bit of an Oval Office junkie, Smick has collected everything from inaugural buttons to a piece of felt from the stage cover at FDR's inauguration.

"I stayed and walked up on that platform myself," he said. "It was a big sheet and I tore off a corner. To this day, the FBI doesn't know where that corner piece went."

Smick recalled some of the more memorable inauguration moments he experienced, including a snowstorm during the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy in 1961 that left him stranded.

"It got worse every hour," Smick said. "At 5 p.m. I pulled off to an Esso Gas Station and said, 'I'm all the way from Salem, I'm going to go back on a train. May I leave my car here?'"

Smick said he's praying President-elect Donald Trump will bring peace, health care and jobs.