Of the many inaugural balls, the one that's getting the most attention is one that Barack Obama didn't attend.Obama made history again by being a no-show at the Salute to Heroes Inaugural Ball.Obama snubs vets, skips Heroes ball
Since its inception in 1953, every new president has attended The Salute to Heroes Inaugural Ball – until now.The ball was created for President Dwight Eisenhower's inauguration to honor recipients of the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military award. The event is sponsored by the American Legion and co-sponsored by 13 other veteran's service organizations, including the Paralyzed Veterans of America and the Military Order of the Purple Heart.And while 48 of the nation's 99 living recipients of the Medal of Honor attended the event, reports the Cleveland Leader and various self-attested attendees of the ball, newly sworn-in President Barack Obama became the first president in 56 years to skip out on the ceremony.Obama's itinerary on Inauguration Day, however, did include attendance at 10 balls in his honor, many of which were graced by a cast of the nation's biggest music and movie stars....News of new president's snub of the Heroes ball, however, launched a flurry of comment on the blogosphere, from angry veterans questioning if this is what Obama means by "change" to supporters who have labeled the whole story a hoax, claiming the ball never took place.The Jackson Sun, however, reports of at least one veteran who attended the Salute to Heroes Inaugural Ball at the Renaissance Hotel in Washington, D.C., and the Blackfive blog reports receiving a press release from the American Legion about the controversy.According to the blog, the Legion's media relations manager Craig Roberts wrote, "President Obama was invited but did not attend. Vice-President Joe Biden did appear, however, and was very warmly received. The new President's absence was understandable considering the unprecedented logistical challenges presented by the vastly increased number of visitors to this inauguration and the necessary attendant security measures. The American Legion, as an organization, does not feel offended or 'snubbed.'" I really don't see how Obama can justify skipping the Salute to Heroes Inaugural Ball. He was invited and declined.This was not a ball he should have missed.The American Legion, "as an organization," is quelling the controversy rather than fueling it. I suspect that the official position of the "organization" doesn't coincide with the thoughts of all its members. The "organization" doesn't feel offended or snubbed. Fine. But I have to believe that some of the ball's attendees, as well as other veterans, don't share that view.In terms of the logistical challenges of Obama's attendance, he should have made it a priority. He certainly could have passed on the MTV "Be the Change Youth Inaugural Ball."I think Obama should have honored our veterans, the heroes, first. Sucking up to celebrities should not have been high on his agenda for the night's activities.It's about choices, and Obama chose to be the first president in 56 years to skip the Salute to Heroes Inaugural Ball.Not good.It's also slimy the way Obama's supporters took to the Internet to push the false notion that the entire story was a hoax.Rather than admit that Obama screwed up, they would rather spread lies about the ball not being held this year. That sort of ridiculous defense dishonors the veterans.Shame on them, too. ______________Read about President Bush and the Salute to Heroes Inaugural Ball, 2005.
President Bush and first lady Laura Bush were greeted with resounding cheers as they made the first stop of their whirlwind tour of inaugural galas Jan. 20 at the Capital Hilton here. This was the FIRST stop for President Bush and Mrs. Bush.Obama didn't bother to show up at all. He could have made it happen, if he wanted to. He didn't.
At the "Salute to Heroes" inaugural ball, hundreds of veterans from across the country, along with their wives and families, greeted the president with a resounding show of support.Vice President Richard Cheney and his wife, Lynne, stopped in later as they made their way through the inaugural circuit.Kenneth Stumpf, one of many Medal of Honor recipients who squeezed through tight security inside the hotel to see the president, was particularly happy to be on hand. "I spent my entire life in the military, so whoever was the president, that was my commander-in-chief," he said. "It just so happens I really like this one."The American Legion sponsors the ball, which recognizes recipients of Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military award. It started in 1953 for President Dwight D. Eisenhower's first inauguration.Event co-sponsors include 13 other veterans service organizations, among them the Military Order of the Purple Heart and the Paralyzed Veterans of America.With applause and cheers often interrupting his comments, the president used his brief appearance to thank veterans for their service."They have set a fantastic example for those who wear the uniform today," he said. "Our veterans who have served all across the world in the cause of freedom, they have done so in a selfless way and for that, this nation is eternally grateful."...Before leaving, the president again expressed thanks to the audience, telling those veterans who have served and those who are now serving, "I am incredibly proud to be your commander in chief."