President Obama committed a major gaffe yesterday while speaking to members of the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, New York.
Here is the quote:
“First time I saw the 10th Mountain Division, you guys were in southern Iraq, when I went back to visit Afghanistan, you guys were the first ones there.
I had the great honor of seeing some of you because a comrade of yours, Jared Monti, was the first person who I was able to award the Medal of Honor to who actually came back and wasn’t receiving it posthumously.”
There is a problem, however.
Obama didn’t present the Medal of Honor to Monti. Monti died in 2006. Obama posthumously presented the award to Monti’s family in September of 2009.
It was actually the first time he had presented the medal, which is the highest military honor our nation bestows.
The difference between giving it to the person to whom it is being awarded versus giving it to a mourning family is significant.
Obama is the Commander and Chief of our military. I’m not saying he needs to remember every intimate detail of everyone he’s ever met associated with the armed forces, but the Medal of Honor is a big deal. And I feels this shows a general disinterest in our military, because it doesn’t seem like it was an experience that had much of an impact on the president.
I am also amazed by the lack of media attention this story is receiving. If Bush had ever made this mistake, he would have been rightly vilified. People would have said that he was out of touch.
The fact that the PRESIDENT of the United States awards the highest honor which this nation can bestow on our service members and forgets that it was given to this man’s family and not to the man himself is not excusable. Obama dropped the ball. Plain and simple.
He may have confused details with Salvatore Giunta, who was awarded the Medal of Honor last year. Giunta was the first living recipient of the award since Vietnam.
Some people may and try to excuse Obama’s error by citing how busy the president is. I feel that doing this devalues the significance of the award.