Observances of Memorial Day often lack recognition of the fact that the day honors those who died in service to the nation. When one hears, “Happy Memorial Day!”, it becomes clear that the meaning of the holiday has escaped people. That becomes particularly frustrating when politicians forget the reason, as apparently Barack Obama did yesterday in New Mexico, and his campaign did later. Power Line highlighted the gaffe:
On this Memorial Day, as our nation honors its unbroken line of fallen heroes — and I see many of them in the audience here today — our sense of patriotism is particularly strong.
Does Obama see dead people? Coming from Chicago, one might be tempted to joke that they would form a natural portion of his constituency, but obviously Obama confused this with Veterans Day, which honors our living veterans of war. Unfortunately, most of the nation makes the same mistake, and small wonder when its leadership can’t distinguish between the two.
Since this is an election season, Obama decided to use his time to do a lot of self-promotion and criticize the Bush administration as his way of honoring the war dead. In politicizing the holiday, Obama portrayed veterans as victims of the current administration, and used the platform to promise all kinds of new spending, helpfully reminding his audience that we spend $10 billion a month in Iraq. Obama told the audience that he wants to rely on solar power for energy independence, exclaiming “Solar! There’s a lot of sun around here. I think we can use use it,” even though decades of research has yet to deliver on wide-scale solar power.
When responding to criticism from John McCain, the Obama campaign became shocked, shocked! that politics got mentioned — and again revealed their ignorance, as Tom Maguire noticed:
For most Americans, Memorial Day is a day to honor our nation’s war dead. However, the Obama team has re-imagined the holiday, as made clear in this comment responding to an attack from John McCain:
Obama’s camp declined to hit back, with spokesman Bill Burton saying “Memorial Day is a day to honor our nation’s veterans, not a day for political posturing.”
It hardly seems fair to ask them the purpose of Veterans Day.
One more time: Memorial Day honors our war dead. Perhaps Obama and his entire team simply forgot that after tiring themselves with all of their political posturing in New Mexico.