Glenn Beck falsely claimed that President Obama "has decided not to honor our troops on Memorial Day." In fact, Obama will speak at a Memorial Day service at a dedicated Veterans Affairs cemetery in Illinois; Obama is not the first president to commemorate the holiday somewhere other than Arlington National Cemetery.
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Beck falsely claims Obama "has decided not to honor our troops on Memorial Day"
From the May 26 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Glenn Beck Program:
BECK: The president has decided not to honor our troops on Memorial Day and go to -- can you find out the last president that decided to take a vacation and then go to a Paul McCartney -- come back for a Paul McCartney concert, but not for the laying of a wreath on Memorial Day? Maybe this has happened before. I don't recall it.
Obama will commemorate Memorial Day in Illinois ceremony
Obama will speak at veterans cemetery; Biden to lay wreath at Arlington National Cemetery. A White House press release states: "On Monday, the President will participate in a Memorial Day ceremony at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, Illinois. Also on Monday, the Vice President and Dr. Jill Biden will host a breakfast for Gold Star Families at the White House. Afterwards, the Vice President and Dr. Biden will participate in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery." Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery is dedicated as a national cemetery within the VA's National Cemetery Administration. [WhiteHouse.gov, 5/24/10]
Previous presidents have honored Memorial Day away from Arlington Cemetery
1983: Reagan attended summit meeting; Defense Department official Thayer laid wreath at Arlington. Deputy Secretary of Defense W. Paul Thayer laid a wreath at Arlington Cemetery during the Memorial Day ceremony in 1983, according to a May 31, 1983, Washington Post article (retrieved from the Nexis database). The Associated Press reported that President Reagan attended a "summit meeting in Williamsburg, Va., with leaders of the industrialized democracies."
1992: George H.W. Bush allowed VP Quayle to lay wreath. In 1992, Vice President Dan Quayle laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day, according to a May 26, 1992, Boston Globe article (from Nexis). The Globe reported that President George H.W. Bush attended a wreath-laying ceremony and made brief remarks at an American Legion hall in Kennebunkport, Maine, where he also played a round of golf.
2002: George W. Bush spoke at commemoration in Normandy. On May 27, 2002, President George W. Bush spoke at a Memorial Day commemoration in Normandy, France.
Bush remained in Texas for Veterans Day in 2007
Veterans Day 2007: Cheney attended ceremony to pay tribute at Arlington as Bush remained in Texas. On November 11, 2007, the AP reported that "President Bush honored U.S. troops past and present at a tearful ceremony Sunday for four Texans who died there." The AP further reported that "Vice President Dick Cheney went to Arlington to pay tribute to Iraq veterans."