Obama Snubs Heroes

January 24th, 2009

President Obama made a serious mistake on the day of his inauguration.  He found time to attend ten inaugural balls, but he didn’t show up at the Salute to Heroes Inaugural Banquet & Ball.  He was invited, of course, but Vice President Biden went instead and was warmly received.  Among those who welcomed him were about half of America’s living Medal of Honor winners.

This inaugural ball, sponsored by the American Legion, has been held for 56 years.  Since 1953, when President Eisenhower attended the first one, no president has failed to show up.  Until now.

I searched the mainstream media and couldn’t find anything on this.  The media obviously doesn’t think it’s a big deal.  Journalists wouldn’t.  But I do.  And so do hundreds of bloggers.  For examples, see BLACKFIVE and The BLOG.

I don’t think for a minute that President Obama lacks respect for the military.  But some of the arrogant leftists on his staff and the braindead elites who follow him around certainly do.  Unfortunately, his Chief of Staff may be among the former.  This was a serious mistake, and it easily could have been avoided.

The President did attend the Commander in Chief Ball.  As reported by The Washington Post, he told the largely military crowd:

Please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers today, every day, forever.  Tonight, we celebrate.  Tomorrow, the work begins. … Together, I am confident we will write the next great chapter in America’s story.

I think that statement reflects his true feelings.  But breaking the tradition of presidents attending this event, effectively snubbing veterans and Medal of Honor winners, is not the way to show it.


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11 Responses to “Obama Snubs Heroes”



  1. Tracey |

    Amazing… Amazingly stupid. I am wondering when he will really become a President instead of a puppet. When will he realize that is all he is and all he will ever be? Maybe he will see the light and become presidential. I seriously doubt it.


  2. Kevin |

    I would like to have seen Obama attend to pay respects to the MoH winners. But I strongly disagree that not attending amounts to disrespect of veterans as a whole.

    Against the backdrop of the woeful conditions that Bush and Clinton before him left the VA medical system in – but particularly Bush and his willful underfunding of the VA system during a time of war – I’m gobsmacked that their attendance at an inauguration ball would now be construed as demonstrating respect towards veterans, as opposed to… oh, I dunno… a crass PR stunt virtually devoid of sincere respect.

    But then I guess that “respect” is a highly subjective thing open to interpretation. I personally lend a great deal more credence to walking the walk than to talking the talk. But that’s just me.

    BTW, given that both of the blogs cited as examples in your post were already on record before the inauguration as opposed to Obama, I’d personally find it much more noteworthy if they wrote anything supportive of Obama. That they’d write something critical of Obama was a foregone conclussion. None of which invalidates their opinions, of course. But it does lend some real politick context.


  3. Trevor |

    Great job Tom! This is unbelievable, and of course, received NO coverage in the press. What a Disgrace!


  4. Tom |

    Kevin, I agree that you have to both talk and walk. The Bush administration didn’t do well on the walking part on some veterans’ and VA-related issues, among other things. No disagreement there.

    I’m not opposed to Obama. I didn’t vote for him, but he’s my president, and I respect and support him. In fact, I’ve been pretty pro-Obama lately, given what I’ve seen him do since the election. So, I’m not predisposed to criticize him. The unfortunate thing is, apparently neither the leftist blogosphere nor the mainstream media thinks this was a big deal. I do think it’s a big deal. Symbolism is a large part of being president. By not showing-up at this ball, which places special emphasis on Medal of Honor recipients, he very visibly broke a long-standing tradition. I’m sure he meant no disrespect; maybe he’s a bit tone-deaf on these things. I also have to wonder if this was purposely done by those who schedule his time. In any case, I take this as a personal slight, and the one man I know well who wears a Medal of Honor would feel the same way. And I’m sure he was there.


  5. Tom |

    Trevor, thanks. I spent a very long time trying to find some mention of this is in the media, and I couldn’t find anything. Maybe I missed it, but I suspect they just didn’t think it was a big deal.

    When you look at the people Obama chose to spend time with that night at other balls, you have to wonder about his priorities. I know he means to be president of all the people, but this is no way to show it.


  6. Kevin |

    Out of curiosity I spent some time digging around online veterans sites. Of the blogs I checked, all were lefty or centrist because that’s who I link to on my blog – quite a few of whom are veterans. I also checked the gamut of veteran/military websites ranging from arguably left-leaning (such as Veterans for Peace) to the non-partisan (such as Veterans of Foreign Wars & militaryspot.com).

    Not a single one mentioned this snub.

    Why do you suppose that is?

    So I decided to do some more digging. When I finally ended up reading this article, I’d already independently verified most of what it said via other sources such as Stars & Stripes.

    Turns out that The American Legion (who sponsored the ball in question) not only went out of their way to state that they didn’t feel snubbed in the slightest, but went on to explain WHY he didn’t attend.

    Incidently, it was pretty easy to find a mainstream media report on this alleged snub. It was also pretty short work finding this media report about a veteran who did attend the ball and apparently didn’t feel the slightest bit snubbed by his president skipping the event.


  7. Brian Bagent |

    Ira Bong. William Arthur Shomo. Lance Sijan. Audie Murphy. Smedley Butler. Read their citations, or the citations of any other MoH winners and tell me that the president is not OBLIGED to attend a gathering of such men. IIRC, Even 4-stars salute PFCs who wear it, not in return from a subordinate, but initiating it in recognition of courage and gallantry. Snub? It’s a snub in the same way that the Mississippi River is just another ditch, the way an alligator is just another lizard. It’s disgraceful is what it is. That some of these men were not offended is a testament to their quality and humility, which makes King Barry’s actions even more disgraceful.


  8. traci |

    Obama hates America. I don’t know how many ways he needs to show it until everyone gets the message. It’s not as though he’s been subtle.


  9. Tom |

    Kevin, I read the Cleveland Dealer report as I was writing the piece. I just read the Jackson Sun story you linked to. These two sources are no more mainstream media than the Hooterville World Guardian of “Green Acres” fame. There may have been some mention of this incident in the real mainstream media, but I couldn’t find it. I would encourage others to read the Jackson Sun article. Mr. Williamson attended the event and didn’t mention the President’s absence, so maybe he wasn’t offended. The fact remains that many other people were offended, including me.

    I read the American Legion statement before I wrote the post. What would you expect them to say publicly? The American Legion is a classy organization that doesn’t issue loud and abusive statements, unlike some other organizations.

    I don’t think this particular issue is earth-shaking or history-changing. But it was a mistake for the President to pass on this inaugural ball while managing to attend so many others. It sent an unfortunate message, even if unintentionally.


  10. Tom |

    traci, President Obama doesn’t hate America. That’s an absurd and disrespectful thing to say. You may not agree with him on most things, but you owe him respect and support.


  11. Anonymous |

    Tom, I must disagree with you. We don’t owe any politician anything, least of all respect and support – and certainly not a president that was made by one of the two most corrupt political machines in the country. Less than 1% of this country must abide by the UCMJ. What you are talking about sounds much more like fealty and is far more appropriate to dictatorships than to republics.


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