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Former National Guardsman recalls Eisenhower's 1953 inauguration

He was just 21 years old at the time and was one of 120 members of the National Guard out of Mount Vernon selected by Eisenhower himself to march in the parade.

News 12 Staff

Jan 20, 2021, 7:44 PM

Updated 1,246 days ago

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Washington, D.C. sure looked different to Larry Jensen, of Mohegan Lake, when he took part in the inauguration parade for President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953.
He was just 21 years old at the time and was one of 120 members of the National Guard out of Mount Vernon selected by Eisenhower himself to march in the parade.
Jensen told News 12 that he remembers being very nervous that day, especially because the president had been a military general, and their group had been awarded for how sharp they looked when they marched.
"When you marched past the president, they called it ‘eyes right’ and we all had to turn to the right look at him as we marched past him," he says. "We didn't want to make a mistake and be the one who goofed up."
Jensen says he has fond memories of that day, but he says a lot has changed since then. With COVID-19 and safety concerns, he realizes Inauguration Day will look and feel a lot different Wednesday.
"Not happy about this situation at all. I won't get into any politics, I think it's just not a happy situation. Very sorry to see the country so divided," he says.
He says he truly believes things will be OK during Wednesday's inauguration.
Jensen says after marching in the parade, he was drafted and stationed in Korea for 18 months.
A total of 25,000 National Guard troops will be actively securing the Capitol for the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday.


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