Sanford D. Horn: Obama in Chicago on Memorial Day? Really?

Column by Sanford D. Horn
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Does Barack Obama have no sense of history? Does he have no sense of respect for the fallen who gave their all? Does he have no sense of decorum? Does he have no sense of right and wrong? Does he have no sense?

Just when I thought I could not be embarrassed of this so-called leader any further, he makes the woebegotten decision to spend Memorial Day weekend in Chicago, instead of where he belongs – doing his duty as Commander in Chief – speaking and laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.

According to The Washington Post, clearly a left of center newspaper, Obama believes it is more important to shun the memories of the fallen who fought to make the world a freer, better and safer place by returning home to Chicago simply because he pledged to do so every six weeks or so. He referred to the trip to the Windy City “as addressing one of the great broken promises of his administration.” (I’ll save the dissection of that comment for another column.)

Obama will also not be attending the breakfast at the White House for “Gold Star” families. These folks are the survivors of those who died in the service to their country. Instead, Vice President Biden and his wife Jill will host the breakfast and participate in the wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.

Making remarks at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, which is what is on Obama’s agenda for next Monday,  is not an appropriate substitute. Obama can do that next February – it will be more meaningful then. After all, if he plans to be in Chicago, “every six weeks or so,” he can certainly arrange his schedule to coincide with Honest Abe’s birthday.

It’s bad enough most people have forgotten the true meaning of Memorial Day – not just a chance to have a weenie roast and chug some cheap beer, although I have no doubt most of the fallen would enjoy doing just that – but the opportunity to recall with pride and introspection those men and women who made the greatest sacrifice one can make for his or her country.

Is this the legacy Obama wishes to leave for his young daughters? It is shameful enough that most schools don’t even bother to teach their charges about the observance formerly known as Decoration Day.

Memorial Day was proclaimed by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in 1868 and observed by the placement of flowers at the graves of both union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.

After her 1915 poem referenced poppies and their redness, Moina Michael began the time-honored tradition of wearing red poppies in remembrance of the fallen soldiers. Later, poppies were sold to help raise money for the widows and orphans of the servicemen who did not return home. By the early 1920s the VFW was enlisted to make and sell the poppies.

The American flag is to be flown at half-mast until noon on Memorial Day. In December 2000 the National Moment of Remembrance was passed by Congress calling on all Americans to pause from their activities at 3 p.m. and offer a moment of observation, respect and silence. Taps should also be played.

Quite frankly, more than a “moment” should be “sacrificed” in remembrance of those brave men and women who died in the service to their country – the volunteers and the draftees. We take for granted the freedom we enjoy in these United States and Obama is setting a poor example by shirking his responsibilities.

The job of president is a full-time, 24-7 task requiring the attention of the leader at all times. He can take a weekend in Chicago at another time. Memorial Day is a work day for the Commander in Chief and he ought to show his children and his country how it’s done – properly.

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