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.
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.”