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Some veterans and right-wing radio hosts (mostly right-wing radio hosts, like Glenn Beck and Erick Erickson) are upset with Barack Obama’s decision to spend the long weekend in Chicago, where he will speak at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery on Memorial Day, instead of staying in Washington to speak at Arlington National Cemetery, as is standard. (Joe Biden will be there instead and better KEEP HIS FUCKING MOUTH SHUT, OKAY JOE?) Why is Barack Obama the first president to insult the troops like this — especially Southern troops, since he’s speaking at Abraham Lincoln’s death field?

This claim has been DEBUNKED, that Obama is the first president to ignore the troops at Arlington on Memorial Day — most thoroughly at Snopes, which WON’T LET US COPY-PASTE FOR SOME REASON?, so here’s old Media Matters instead:

Previous presidents have honored Memorial Day away from Arlington Cemetery

1983: Reagan attended summit meeting; Defense Department official Thayer laid wreath at Arlington. Deputy Secretary of Defense W. Paul Thayer laid a wreath at Arlington Cemetery during the Memorial Day ceremony in 1983, according to a May 31, 1983, Washington Post article (retrieved from the Nexis database). The Associated Press reported that President Reagan attended a “summit meeting in Williamsburg, Va., with leaders of the industrialized democracies.”

1992: George H.W. Bush allowed VP Quayle to lay wreath. In 1992, Vice President Dan Quayle laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day, according to a May 26, 1992, Boston Globe article (from Nexis). The Globe reported that President George H.W. Bush attended a wreath-laying ceremony and made brief remarks at an American Legion hall in Kennebunkport, Maine, where he also played a round of golf.

2002: George W. Bush spoke at commemoration in Normandy. On May 27, 2002, President George W. Bush spoke at a Memorial Day commemoration in Normandy, France.


But then again, it’s always nice when the president goes to Arlington on Memorial Day. It’s a very gorgeous spot, very moving ceremony. (That means no jeans, okay, Biden?) It’s understandable that certain veterans would want him there. Glenn Beck and Erick Erickson can deal with it, though.


[Washington Post, Media Matters, Snopes]

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