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Local's sister to ride horse in Presidential Inaugural Parade

January 16, 2013 - Since Thomas Jefferson's second inauguration on March 4, 1805, it has become tradition for the president to parade down Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol to the White House.

This year the public ceremony will have a local connection.

Anita Schmidt, 57, a younger sister of Brandon Township resident Rose Marie Paetsch, will be part of the Michigan Mounted Police Drill Team and Color Guard and she will carry the Michigan Horse Council Flag in the Presidential Inaugural Parade. The team is comprised of 18 riders from Michigan and two from the Ontario Provincial Police. Five of the riders are from Oakland County.

"It's an honor and a lot of fun to ride in the parade," said Schmidt, a Capac resident and a reservist for the Macomb County Mounted Sheriff Department.

Mandated by the Constitution, the inaugurations of all presidents are to be held at noon on Jan. 20, including the second inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States. Because that date falls on a Sunday this year, two ceremonies, one private on Jan. 20 and one public on Jan. 21, have been scheduled.

"We are all volunteer and help out when needed for search and rescue, or crowd control," she said. "I've been riding for about 40 years and been a reservist for the past five years. I've rode in parades before, but nothing quite like this in Washington. However, in July 2009 I worked crowd control with my horse Amber at Macomb Community College when Obama came to speak there."

In addition to the Michigan Multi-Jurisdictional Drill Team and Color Guard, the Michigan Military Spouses will also represent the state. More than 2,800 applications were received from units interested in participating in the Inaugural Parade. Of these, 43 were selected to participate in the parade.

"This trip to Washington for the team is the second," she said. "I did not go four years ago."

The group was also invited to the Michigan Inaugural Celebration sponsored by the Michigan State Society and the Michigan Congressional Delegation. The event is dedicated to the people, resources and ingenuity that are leading Michigan forward.

"My horse Amber is 16-years-old and I've had her for six years now," she said. "She just loves everyone and is not afraid of crowds, fireworks or loud noises. I guess she's just right for the job."

The team will meet at the Michigan State University Pavilion on the East Lansing Campus. Dean Trailways of Michigan will transport the people while Lum Hughston Trucking of McBain, Mich. will haul the horses.

"Maybe I'll get to meet Obama," she laughed. "Not sure what I'd say, but I'd like to meet him."

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