Monday, May 31, 2010

President Obama's Memorial Day Complicated by Storms at Home and Abroad

Standing at the presidential podium this afternoon on the stage of a Memorial Day ceremony at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, a rain-drenched President Obama raised his left hand in a show of authority, while his right hand held a wind-buffeted black umbrella, and issued an order.

"Excuse me, everybody listen up," the commander in chief told the crowd huddled under umbrellas and plastic bags amid a torrential downpour outside Chicago. "We are a little bit concerned about lightning. This may not be safe. So I know that all of you are here to commemorate the fallen and that's why we're here. What we'd like to do is, if possible, have people move back to their cars."

The president, already facing scrutiny for his decision to skip Memorial Day ceremonies at Washington's Arlington National Cemetery, promised to wait out the storm for 15 minutes before deciding whether to continue, leaving hundreds of onlookers to trudge across flooded fields and muddy parking lots to take shelter in their vehicles in the meantime.

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