The great thing about having Facebook friends who watch Glenn Beck is that you don’t have to. It’s like having Jon Stewart in your news feed, only not nearly as funny.
That’s how I know that the big tea bagging deal at the moment is the idea that Pres. Obama is betraying the troops by spending Memorial Day weekend in Chicago, and therefore will miss laying a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. Instead, Vice Pres. Biden will perform the ritual while Obama and the First Lady participate in a service at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, Ill.
One immediately wonders if any past president has committed a similar omission without being called a commie, and David Corn, writing for Politics Daily did the research. Turns out three presidents in recent history missed the Arlington ceremony: Reagan, Bush, and Bush.
In 1983, President Reagan was at a summit meeting, and the deputy secretary of defense — not even the veep! — placed the wreath. Nine years later, President George H.W. Bush passed off the wreath to Vice President Dan Quayle (who had used family connections to get a slot in the National Guard during the days of the Vietnam War draft). And in 2007, Vice President Dick Cheney took on the wreath mission, while President George W. Bush was in Texas, perhaps clearing brush.
Corn also notes that anyone who doubts that Obama gets the sacrifice being made by our armed forces on our behalf should remember something else he did.
Last fall, he made a midnight visit to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to witness the return of dead GIs — which his predecessor never did. Two weeks later, he was in Arlington cemetery on Veterans Day, placing a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and greeting mourners who had come to this garden of stones and death on that cold and wet day. One of those was James Gordon Meek, a reporter for The New York Daily News, who happened to be at the cemetery visiting friends and relatives buried there. Afterward, Meek wrote a wonderfully poignant column:
“What I got was an unexpected look into the eyes of a man who intertwined his roles as commander in chief and consoler in chief on a solemn day filled with remembrance and respect for sacrifices made — and sacrifices yet to be made…
His presence in Section 60 convinced me that he now carries the heavy burden of command.”
Facts don’t matter to the nut cases on the right, of course. So if any of your Facebook friends are residents of Glennbeckistan, you might want to use the “Hide” feature over Memorial Day weekend. That, or get ready for lots of red-faced huffing and puffing.