Description: Online rumor
Circulating since: June 2012
Status: False (see details below)
Email contributed by Lee S., July 2, 2012:
In recent times, only 3 presidents have failed to go to the D-Day Monument that honors the soldiers killed on D-Day. Those 3 Presidents were:
1. Barack Obama 2010
2. Barack Obama 2011
3. Barack Obama 2012
For the past 70 years, all presidents, except Obama, have paid tribute to the fallen soldiers killed on D-Day. This year, instead of honoring the soldiers, he made a campaign trip on Air Force 1 to California to raise funds for the upcoming election.
Analysis: This much is true: President Obama didn't attend D-Day commemoration ceremonies in 2010, 2011, or 2012 (though he did attend on the 65th anniversary of the Normandy invasion on June 6, 2009).
The claim that 2010, 2011, and 2012 were the only years since World War II in which an American president failed to attend D-Day commemorations is patently false, however. This is easily confirmed by checking the U.S. State Department historian's list of presidential visits to France.
Here are the facts:
- The first American president to participate in a D-Day commemoration in Normandy was Ronald Reagan on the 40th anniversary of the invasion, June 6, 1984. He visited only that one time during his entire eight-year term.
- Reagan's successor, George H. W. Bush, never attended a D-Day commemoration at all.
- Bill Clinton attended only once, on the 50th anniversary of D-Day in 1994.
- George W. Bush attended only twice during his eight-year term of office: on Memorial Day 2002 and on the 60th anniversary of D-Day in 2004. (He also, in 2001, dedicated a stateside D-Day memorial in Virginia.)
- As stated above, Barack Obama has attended only once during his term of office, on the 65th anniversary of D-Day in 2009.
Between 1944 and 2012 a span of 68 years exactly four U.S. presidents have attended D-Day memorial ceremonies a combined total of exactly six times. Barack Obama was one of them.
Sources and further reading:
Obama Honors D-Day Vets
Associated Press, 6 June 2009
Presidents' Visits to France
U.S. Dept. of State Office of the Historian
Bush Dedicates National D-Day Memorial in Virginia
CNN, 6 June 2001
Last updated 07/19/12