Obama Skipped Inaugural Ball for Medal of Honor Recipients
January 28, 2009 - 5:25 PMPresident Barack Obama was the first president to miss the Salute to Heroes Inaugural Ball, which recognizes Medal of Honor recipients. The Medal of Honor is considered the nation's highest military award.
Forty-eight Medal of Honor recipients attended the ball, sponsored by the American Legion, and over the past 56 years and 14 inaugurations, dating back to Dwight Eisenhower, no president has skipped it until now.
“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,’” Craig Roberts, media relations manager for the American Legion, said in a statement.
Obama attended 10 official balls on the evening of the inauguration, including the Neighborhood Ball, 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. He and the first lady also made brief appearances at the Mid-Atlantic, Western, Midwest, Eastern, and Southern Regional Balls.