Thursday, May 27, 2010

Politicizing Memorial Day Dishonors our Veterans


Some are raising a stink about President Obama taking a vacation to Chicago over Memorial Day Weekend, skipping the annual national Memorial Day Celebration at Arlington National Cemetery. He will celebrate Memorial Day at Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, Ill. while on vacation instead.

I think it's lame to criticize him for this choice.

President Reagan only attended the Arlington celebration four times in his eight years. President George H.W. Bush never attended sending Dan Quayle in his stead. President Clinton never missed. President George W. Bush attended 7 of his possible 8. Keep in mind, all these presidents celebrated Memorial Day somewhere, and did so publicly, as they should. Obama will be at a national cemetery in Illinois, that's very appropriate. How often do any of our national cemeteries get a visit from a sitting President? Illinois has given plenty of her sons and daughters for America over the years, she deserves a visit from our president.

There's plenty to criticize Obama concerning, but choosing to go to a national cemetery on Memorial Day in his home state while taking a short "vacation" (no President actually gets to relax) is entirely acceptable. To criticize Obama on this point is entirely political and takes away from the respect and honor every American citizen should show to our veterans this weekend.


Hundreds of thousands of our fellow Americans died in battles for us. Thousands more were wounded, all who have served have been altered in some way. Our focus should be on the sacrifice of those who fought for America, not which cemetery our President pays his respects.


Four years ago my father and I visited the Florence American Cemetery in Italy to pay respects to my Uncle Chris who died in WWII at the age of 19. It was one of the most powerful moments of my life. I wrote about it in a post found here, one of my earliest posts on Reepicheep.

4 comments:

Rick Calohan said...

Politicized yes, because it’s an election year, however, the former Presidents you mentioned who may not have been at Arlington every Memorial Day did have one thing in common they darned the uniform and served their nation in times of war and in times of peace.

As a veteran I do not think politicizing Memorial Day dishonors our veterans, for those who have served, for families and friends who mourn for those who gave their lives for this nation their blood gives me the freedom of speech I have today and that includes criticizing the President of the United States when I think he is wrong and applauding him for at least taking time to visit a veterans cemetery even if its not Arlington.

Reepicheep said...

Bill Clinton didn't darn the uniform...

Rick Calohan said...

Tony,

I think at first glance once could get that impression, however you indicated in your post "President Clinton never missed."

I wrote "the former Presidents you mentioned who may not have been at Arlington every Memorial Day did have one thing in common they darned the uniform and served their nation in times of war and in times of peace."

In other words the ones who did missed actually did serve.

Although President Clinton did not serve at least he understood the importance of Arlington.

Woody Woodward said...

I am so disgusted with our president, it’s hard for me even imagine saluting him. Even saluting the office, with him as President is tough.