When U.S. President Barack Obama is sworn in for his second term this weekend, Pensacola resident Jamaal Smart will be there. As a captain in the U.S. Army, he will be in Washington D.C. to provide parade assembly support during the 57th presidential inauguration ceremonies.
“We’re actually already here,” Capt. Smart said this afternoon.
Members of the U.S. armed forces have provided support for presidential inaugurations since 1789. On April 30 of that year, troops in the Continental Army escorted George Washington to the first U.S. presidential swearing-in ceremony at Federal Hall in New York City.
Captain Smart’s unit will be coordinating participants in the inauguration parade.
“Basically, my unit helps getting all the marchers here, where we hold them until the parade starts,” Smart said, explaining that the parade includes about 9,000 participants.
After returning from Iraq in December 2011, Smart went to his home base in Newport News, Va. He knew he’d be heading to D.C. for the inauguration by June. It would be a first for the Army captain.
“I have seen it a few times on TV,” Smart laughed.