Obama Snubs Heroes;
Skips Inaugural Ball
for MoH Recipients
Obama Snubs Heroes -- The Blogosphere has been abuzz this past week, particularly in military circles, about newly-inaugurated President Barack Obama's conspicuous absence at the Salute to Heroes Inaugural Ball honoring Medal of Honor recipients.
The event, sponsored by the American Legion and 13 other veterans service organizations, has been an inaugural tradition for every President since its inception, at the inauguration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953.
In attendance last week at the Renaissance Hotel in Washington were 48 of the 99 living MOH recipients. To those who understand the sacrifice and heroism that results in an award of the Medal of Honor (most of which are awarded posthumously, including all those awarded in the global war on terror thus far), there cannot have been a more hallowed hall on inauguration night. Yet the new President was a no-show, the first President in 56 years to skip the ball, sending Vice-President Biden instead.
As you can imagine, the reaction has ranged from outrage by some veterans and the patriots who post at Free Republic, to "Who Cares," to "Can't conservatives find something substantive to talk about and stop nitpicking?" at liberal blogs. If you have time (lots of time), and want to read the rants, just do a Google search on "Obama snubs heroes" or "Obama heroes ball" and read the comments on the various blogs.
To be "fair and balanced," one of the official inaugural balls was the Commander-in-Chief's Ball, held in the Washington Convention Center along with several of the other balls.
The President and First Lady made an appearance there, where they stayed for a reported 15 minutes (as opposed to only a minute or two at some of the other events). The President spoke via video link from Kabul, Afghanistan, with Illinois National Guard members about their hometowns and sports teams.
He and the First Lady each danced with an active duty service member. (We have to ask, why would someone select a Marine shorter than she is to dance with the very tall - almost 5'11" - First Lady?! This is nothing against the fine Marine sergeant who was selected, but shouldn't someone have been paying attention to how tall the woman is?)
But one has to wonder . . . was this merely a tactical error on the part of a political novice, or does it portend ill for the way our nation views and treats its veterans, who, after all, are responsible for the freedom that gave Barack Obama the chance to be elected at all?
While Obama himself can fairly be placed in the category of a political novice, he has surrounded himself with advisers from the Clinton era, who can hardly be called novices. They should have known better. Which presents another interesting question -- Did they know better? Did they deliberately give him bad advice? Hmmmm . . .
One of those saying "So What?" was CJ at A Soldier's Perspective, who pointed out that Obama did not snub "the troops" and plugs his attendance at the CinC ball, including the video of Obama's appearance.
The first commenter there astutely points out: "The Commander-in-Chief Ball is to honor the troops who are [currently] serving, and who are injured etc. The Salute to Heroes Ball is to honor veterans, those who went before. The CinC is for GWOT, whereas the STH is for GWOT and all the other preceding ones. Although it had active duty soldiers as well, the focus was on those who received the MOH."
So is the message that we support those who are currently serving, and ignore or forget them once their service is complete? As veterans, and champions of veterans, we don't like that idea very much. Notwithstanding the fact that the writer is a (non-combat) veteran, married to a (combat) veteran, we strongly believe this nation owes a tremendous debt to its veterans, especially its combat veterans who have put their lives on the line to preserve our freedom. Among that group of combat veterans, Medal of Honor recipients represent the very best, the elite, true heroes all. One commenter on the BlackFive blog said he would have "crawled over broken glass" to be in the presence of these heroes. But our new President wouldn't even be driven there in a bullet-proof limo. Sad.
The American Legion's media relations director responded to an inquiry from BlackFive that, as an organization, the American Legion did not feel "offended or snubbed."
Did anyone ask any of those 48 heroes in attendance whether THEY felt snubbed? Humble as they are, they would be gracious enough to say no.
But following President George W. Bush, who placed such emphasis on the gratitude we owe to our veterans and currently-serving military members and their families, one would think Obama would have at least shown up for a few minutes to say "Thank You" in person.
Troubling . . . troubling indeed.
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So, the American Legion doesn't feel "snubbed" because for the first time in 56 years and 14 presidents later, the CinC didn't make an appearance to honor the greatest heroes of our nation? Shame on the American Legion.
Gee, I'll bet the hospitalized service men and women in Germany didn't feel "snubbed" either when the Obamassiah didn't visit them in the hospital because he couldn't take his cameras in with him.
Yep, this is the "change we can believe in", a CLINTON-3, military hating administration -- that is something you can believe in!!!!
With all of John McCain's RINO problems, he at least LOVES AMERICA AND HONORS THE MILITARY!!!!
---- Vietnam Vet in Communist Massachusetts
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