Vets Blast Obama For Skipping Memorial Day at Arlington Cemetery

At a time when President Obama’s relationship with the military is already on shaky ground, his decision to take a vacation with his family in Chicago rather than pay his Memorial Day respects at Arlington National Cemetery further proves his apathy toward our armed forces, according to some veterans.

“The President seems to demonstrate almost weekly just how, at least to me, little he cares about this country and our history and our heritage,” retired Marine Lt. Col. Orson Swindle told HUMAN EVENTS.

“He seems almost to resent it, which is the most mind-boggling thing in the world, because without a country like America Barack Obama could not be President. He seems to dislike our institutions… and that’s a sad, sad thing,” said Swindle, a decorated Vietnam prisoner of war and Sen. John McCain’s cellmate in Hanoi.

Obama — rather than follow decades of presidential tradition — will visit the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery just 50 miles South of Chicago, conveniently close to where he will vacation.  

“Presidents go to Arlington for three reasons,” said Steven Hess, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute and former advisor to Presidents Ford and Carter. “One is tradition, obviously when there’s a tradition, one prefers to follow it rather than break it.”

“The second would be just the size and importance of it, the number of veterans from all wars that are there and that’s significant.  And the third is a rather practical one, it is very convenient. Presidents go across the bridge and there they are. Their time is valuable, I don’t mean that that’s much in their minds but it’s probably somewhat in the minds of their schedulers. I don’t know of previous Presidents doing what [Obama’s] done.”

Hess told HUMAN EVENTS that he liked the idea of Obama traveling on Memorial Day to a cemetery outside of Chicago rather than Arlington. “I like the idea in the same way that I like the fact that it happens that presidential papers are all over the country.”

“If you’re in California, you can be close to the Hoover papers or the Reagan papers, if your in Texas you are close to the Bush papers…so it happens by accident that virtually every region in the country has this and I think that’s nice, it means that somebody is close to it and feels close to it and in some ways I think that would be true of veterans cemeteries as well,” said Hess.

David Corn, former editor of the ultra-liberal magazine The Nation, wrote in his Politics Daily Column this week “So what the hell do these conservatives want out of Obama? And does it matter if Obama throws some leaves on a tomb?”

Perhaps it matters to the families of the 58, 627 names on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, and even more so to the servicemen who were killed in action and remains have yet to be identified and are recognized at the Tomb of the Unknowns. Those “leaves” you speak of, Mr. Corn, are placed there in respect for their sacrifice.

“So what does it matter if we fail to recognize Obama as our commander in chief,” Editor of Guns and Patriots and former Marine Sergeant Mike Piccione told HUMAN EVENTS.


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