Obama Became the First President to Skip an Inaugural Ball Honoring Medal of Honor RecipientsTruth!

Summary of eRumor:

A forwarded email saying that newly elected President Barack Obama snubbed our nation’s heroes by being the first President to  skip the inaugural ball honoring Medal Of Honor recipients. 

The Truth:

There are many balls and galas all throughout the Washington DC area held to celebrate presidential inaugurations.

The tradition of the Salute to Heroes Inaugural Ball began in 1953 when President Dwight Eisenhower became the 34th President of the United States of America. This ball recognizes recipients of the Medal of Honor, our nation’s highest military award. This is the first time since its inception that a  President has skipped this event.

The Obama Presidential Inaugural committee planned ten balls for the evening of January 20, 2009.   The balls attended by President Obama were the Neighborhood Inaugural Ball, Commander-in-Chief’s Inaugural Ball, Youth Inaugural Ball, Obama Home States Inaugural Ball, Biden Home States Inaugural Ball, Eastern Inaugural Ball, Mid-Atlantic Inaugural Ball, Midwest Inaugural Ball, Southern Inaugural Ball and Western Inaugural Ball.  

Some of the balls attended by President Obama had special themes.

The Commander-in-Chief’s Inaugural Ball which was held in Washington DC’s  National Building Museum, honored  active duty and reserve military. Among the invited guests were Purple Heart recipients, families of fallen heroes, and spouses of deployed military.

Youth Inaugural Ball was a celebration for those between the ages of 18 and 35 encouraging young Americans to take an active roll in serving their communities.

President Obama became the first president to host the “Neighborhood Inaugural Ball” in fulfillment of his promise to make the celebration open and accessible to Americans.

Although President Obama was a no show, a World Net Daily January 24, 2009 article reported that the American Legion’s media relations manager, Craig Roberts, said that Vice President Biden did make an appearance and was warmly received.   Roberts went on to say, “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.'”   Click for article

Obama’s failure to attend the Ball brought criticism in a January 25, 2009 article in the Cleveland Leader.  The article said, “Barack Obama made a monumental mistake in declining to attend the Salute to Heroes Inaugural Ball in favor of rubbing shoulders with celebrities. While the American Legion states that they do not feel snubbed or offended, plenty of America’s citizens and servicemen are.”   Click here for article

updated 1/28/09

A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:

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 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.