A solemn President Obama is at Arlington National Cemetery where he just laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns, the resting place of unidentified servicemembers from World Wars I and II and the Korean War. (The remains of a Vietnam War casualty were exhumed in 1998 and identified through DNA testing as those of Air Force 1st Lt. Michael Joseph Blassie, who was shot down in 1972.)
In keeping with long-standing tradition, the president also sent wreaths to several other war memorials, including the Confederate War Memorial at Arlington Cemetery. Obama also sent a wreath to the African American Civil War Memorial across the Potomac River in Washington, D.C. He is the first president to pay such a tribute to the estimated 200,000 African Americans who died in the conflict that ended slavery.
The controversy stemmed from the fact that some people feel the Confederate fallen were traitors, enemies to the fatherland and to continue honoring them feeds into their descendents' racism, bigotry and divisiveness. What do you think? Is there anything to those claims, in your opinion? Is it normal for a country to honor and respect the fallen rebels who attempted to overthrow its government?
Obama's usual way of sidestepping these extremely emotional arguments was done, in this instance, very smoothly by adding the honoring of Black Civil War soldiers to the ceremony. Not only did that balance out in some way the honoring of the Confederates, but it took some of the focus off his decision to continue doing so. I say, well done, Barack.
What's your opinion?