WYNWOOD, Pa. (CBS) — A history buff from Montgomery County got more than he bargained for when he went to watch democracy in action in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday. For one local man, seeing the president of the United States in person has been a tradition since he was a kid.

He’s attended speeches from President Richard Nixon through President Barack Obama, and when he heard that President Donald Trump was holding a rally in D.C. on Wednesday, he planned to see him as well. But he never thought he’d have a front-row seat to a dark day in U.S. history.

When Anthony Cimino arrived back at his Wynwood home, one thought crossed his mind.

“I was relieved when I actually got in the door,” Cimino said. “OK, somehow I got through that without any injury.”

Hours earlier, Cimino was watching Trump speak near the White House, continuing his long tradition.

“Every time there is a new president, I try to go see them in person,” Cimino said. “I shook [Bill] Clinton’s hand. I’ve seen [Ronald] Reagan. And so, I had a chance now to see Trump at this rally.”

But then, Cimino followed the crowds to the U.S. Capitol.

“Everyone was kind of friendly to each other and talking to each other,” Cimino said, “and there was a point I was going to leave and then things started getting crazy.”

Cimino started recording the mob breaking into the Capitol. Cimino estimates that he was just 30 feet away, watching everything unfold.

“All of a sudden tear gas started going off and pepper spray and there was smoke everywhere,” Cimino said.

Cimino escaped without injury and though this trip led him to be a part of history, he says it won’t prevent him from continuing his tradition.

“I never thought that I would actually be part of something this big, this outrageous that happened,” Cimino said. “I didn’t think it was going to get violent to the point where things were going to get broken and people died. [President-elect Joe] Biden next and whoever is after that, I’ll try to see them.”

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