© 2024 Western New York Public Broadcasting Association

140 Lower Terrace
Buffalo, NY 14202

Mailing Address:
Horizons Plaza P.O. Box 1263
Buffalo, NY 14240-1263

Buffalo Toronto Public Media | Phone 716-845-7000
WBFO Newsroom | Phone: 716-845-7040
Your NPR Station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

WWII vet celebrates inauguration, defends protestors, but criticizes boycott

Dr. John Long

Nearly as many people are expected in the nation’s capital to protest Donald Trump as there are to attend his inauguration. Among the 250,000 people who received a ticket to the event is a World War II veteran from Western New York who is proud to have defended the rights of protestors, but upset by politicians choosing not to attend.

For retired chiropractor Dr. John long, Donald Trump’s inauguration as 45th President of the United States is a hat trick. Long has already attended the swearing in of both Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. This time, he’s combining attendance at the historic event with one of his own – his 90th birthday.

Long served as an activist for the Republican Party for five decades before he stepped down from a long-time position as chair of the Town of Tonawanda Republican Committee to let younger members take up the reins of leadership. He was involved in Trump’s candidacy from day one and is hopeful that when he takes his seat just 25 rows from the inaugural stage, it will be one of the “most beautiful and historic moments” of his life. He is also expecting to leave with a sense of unification.

“The country, now, is in a better, more upbeat, positive, optimistic attitude, and I think we are going to see great things happen for our country,” said Long. “I really believe the country is going to become great again. We’re going to have the kind of respect from our allies, our foreign countries, and I think we’re going to have great unification within our country.”

When long heard about the 50 House Democrats planning to boycott the inauguration, his reaction was simple and to the point – “Shame on them.”

Thinking back on the many inaugurations of both Republican and Democratic Presidents that he’s watched either in person or from afar, Long said the country always came together for the event. He said it’s bigger than any set of political circumstances.

“This is all about America, and it’s time that those people get over it. Some of those people realize they lost the election, there was a winner, and now it’s time to heal and bring this country together.”

But just because he objects to the boycott doesn’t mean Long is opposed to other signs of protest. In fact, he said the rallies and marches against his candidate, expected to be participated in by hundreds of thousands of people in Washington, are a sign of living democracy even on inauguration day.

“In this country, everyone has the right to speak,” said Long. “As long as we do things in a proper way, I see nothing wrong with these people protesting, as long as they remain in the proper attitude and we don’t have any problems as a result of it.”

“As a World War II veteran, we fought for the rights of everyone to have freedom of speech, and all the other freedoms that come with our wonderful constitution.”

Long said he plans to celebrate the whole occasion on Friday evening with a dinner out with friends, and a toast to great years ahead for America.

Avery began his broadcasting career as a disc jockey for WRUB, the University at Buffalo’s student-run radio station.
Related Content