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Obama Skips 'Salute to Heroes' Inaugural Ball


SUMMARY: Forwarded email criticizes Barack Obama for being the first newly elected president in 56 years to skip the Salute to Heroes Inaugural Ball honoring recipients of the Medal of Honor.

Description: Forwarded email
Circulating since: Jan. 2009
Status: True / Misleading

Example #1:
Email contributed by Peggy J., Jan. 27, 2009:

Fw: Heroes Inaugural 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.

Example #2:
Email contributed by T. White, Jan. 28, 2009:

Subj: Medal of Honor Recipients Snubbed by Commander in Chief 1st time in 50 years

Obama Snubs Nation's Heroes, Becomes the First President to Skip Ball Honoring Medal of Honor Recipients in Over 50 Years

Barack Obama may have stumbled over his words briefly during his inauguration, but he made an even bigger blunder later Tuesday evening. The newly sworn-in President opted not to appear at what should have been one of the most important Balls on his agenda that evening - "The Salute to Heroes Inaugural Ball."

The Salute to Heroes Inaugural Ball was begun in 1953 for President Dwight Eisenhower's inauguration. The event recognized recipients of the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military award. There were 48 Medal of Honor recipients in attendance, who were undoubtedly disappointed by the new Commander-in-Chief's failure to show. Over the past 56 years and 14 inaugurations, no President has skipped this event - until now.

The Salute to Heroes Inaugural Ball is sponsored by the American Legion, and co-sponsored by 13 other veteran's service organizations, including those such as the Paralyzed Veterans of America and the Military Order of the Purple Heart.

Instead of attending this ball honoring our nation's heroes, Obama was busy making stops at 10 other official balls. Obama and his wife's first stop was at the Neighborhood Ball. From there they went to the Home State Ball for Illinois and Hawaii, the Commander-in-Chief Ball, the Youth Inaugural Ball, and the Home State Ball for Delaware and Pennsylvania. They finished off the night with brief appearances at the Mid-Atlantic, Western, Midwest, Eastern, and Southern regional Balls.

Celebrities were a plenty at the balls, with Stevie Wonder, Shakira, Mary. J. Blige, Faith Hill, Jay-Z, Alicia Keys, Adam Levine, will.i.am, Sting, Mariah Carey, and Leonardo DiCaprio in attendance at the Neighborhood Ball. In addition, the other nine balls also featured a star-studded lineup including Kanye West and Kid Rock at the Youth Ball, Marc Anthony at the Western Ball, and Cheryl Crow at the Western Ball.

It was the party without all of the celebrities that Obama skipped. The very people who he sought to have support him during his candidacy and campaign, who have fought to protect this country, were snubbed in favor of publicity and the opportunity to rub shoulders - yet again - with the out-of-touch Hollywood elite!



Comments: It's a fact that Barack Obama did not attend the American Legion's Salute to Heroes Inaugural Banquet and Ball recognizing Medal of Honor recipients (Vice-President Biden attended instead), and it's a fact that he was the first newly elected president to miss the event since its inception in 1953.

In point of fact, Obama didn't show up at any of the dozens of unofficial balls and galas sponsored by entities other than the Presidential Inaugural Committee.

He did, however, attend the official Commander-in-Chief's Ball honoring all U.S. servicemembers, the guest list of which included Medal of Honor and Purple Heart recipients, hundreds of wounded soldiers (and their families) from Walter Reed Army Medical Center, and spouses of troops currently deployed overseas. He saluted America's men and women in uniform during brief remarks:

"It is wonderful to be surrounded by some of the very best and bravest Americans," the President said. "Your courage, grace and your patriotism inspire us all. To you, and to all those watching around the world, know that as president, I will have no greater honor or responsibility than serving as your commander in chief."

Opinions will vary on whether or to what extent the above constitutes a "snub" against the nation's military heroes.

Excerpt of statement from the American Legion:

From The American Legion's point of view, 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 National Adjutant of The American Legion states that, as an organization, The Legion does not feel offended or "snubbed" by the President's failure to appear.

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Sources and further reading:

Obama Caps Historic Day 10 Inaugural Balls
Associated Press, 21 January 2009

Obama Hails Troops, Families at Commander-in-Chief's Ball
American Forces Press Service, 21 January 2009

Obama Snubs Nation's Heroes
Cleveland Leader, 21 January 2009

At Inaugural Ball, Obama Pledges to Serve Troops
Stars and Stripes, 22 January 2009

Did Obama Snub Medal of Honor Recipients at the Inaugural Balls?
FactCheck.org, 30 January 2009

Last updated: 02/02/09

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