Tuskegee Airman gets help to attend inauguration

GARY, Ind. (AP) - Friends and strangers are helping a Tuskegee Airman from northwestern Indiana attend President-elect Barack Obama's inaugural.

Ninety-year-old Quentin Smith of Gary at first felt he couldn't attend the ceremony on Jan. 20. But after a story about him appeared in the Post-Tribune of Merrillville on Tuesday, he received offers of hotel rooms and airline flights.

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein invited surviving members of the nation's first squadron of black military pilots to see the swearing-in of the nation's first black president.

Smith said he was working on several options for the trip, hoping to minimize the amount of traveling he has to do.

A hotel executive offered a suite and friends booked an airline ticket.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)