‘Burn in Hell’: Muslim Protesters Disrupt British Veterans Day

While America celebrates Veterans Day on Thursday, Britons across the pond are wrapping up a similar celebration called Armistice Day. Both honor the brave men and women fighting (and who have fought) in the armed services. That didn’t matter to a group of Muslim protesters on Thursday, however, who interrupted services in London with chants of “British soldiers burn in hell” and banners saying “Islam will dominate” and “Our dead are in paradise, your dead are in hell.”

The group of about 30 people, according to the Scottish Sun, is called Muslims Against Crusades. And while they screamed their hate, they were met by 50 counter protesters from the English Defence League.

“I’m disgusted,” one mother whose son was killed in Afghanistan told the Sun.

“There are people like myself that at 11am today were remembering the lives of our children, and then there are some people doing something so hurtful as that. I think it’s atrocious.”

“We’re talking about individuals who have died for their country,” she added.

Read more here.

Faces of War: The Fallen Marine

by: Rick Leventhal

from the Marines Combat Outpost in Tahgaz, Afghanistan:

There is much Fox News can’t report about the valor and heroism of the most recent casualty in Afghanistan, a U.S. Marine with the 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion. It’s just too soon.

But after spending time with his unit, Alpha Company of the 1st L.A.R., two things are clear: this Marine’s loss is being felt deeply by his brothers in uniform and his unit has not wavered in its mission to bring peace and stability to the Helmand River Valley.

The Marine’s base at Tahgaz is the furthest south and west in the country and some platoons are stationed even further out in the remote desert and surrounding hills. While L.A.R. Marines are used to working out of their Light Armored Vehicles (LAV’s), the Marines at Tahgaz are primarily patrolling on foot, for eight to ten hours a day or more.

They’re led by Captain John Bitonti, a combat veteran who I met while embedded with his unit, the 3rd L.A.R., during the invasion of Iraq. He went back for another tour in Fallujah in 2004. Now he leads well over 100 men in sometimes hostile territory.

“The enemy is out there” the Captain told me. “They’re watching, they want to kill us. The key is that we need to be more vigilant than them and be prepared to stop them before they stop us.”

I asked him about the fallen Marine, who is the 1000th U.S. casualty in Afghanistan since troops first arrived here in late 2001. He told me the men were out on foot patrol and spotted a lone figure across the river who didn’t move, despite the sandstorm. After waiting and observing the man, they decided to resume their patrol and an IED exploded from a berm, killing one of the Marines and seriously wounding two others.

“For me to lose him? Yeah, absolutely, it tears me apart, it hurts inside, but we have a mission to continue and I’m gonna get more marines hurt if we don’t continue with our mission, which is exactly the reason the night of the incident we pushed patrol literally right afterwards. That patrol was getting those marines out, another patrol was already patrolling the same area. We can’t let them know that they got the best of us and I know after that attack, they’re watching us to see what we’re gonna do… and they know if they try to do that again, we’re gonna be ready this time.”

“This marine, yeah, he’s not with us physically, but he’s with us in spirit and I haven’t given him a leave of absence yet… so he’s still on patrol, he’ll be redeploying back to the states when we do.”

Captain Bitonti spends much of his time meeting with locals, trying to convince them the U.S. is here to help. It was his unit that was first made aware of a six year old local boy who’d been bitten in the face by a deadly Viper snake. They called for the airlift that saved the boy’s life.

“In a counterinsurgency fight, the center of gravity is the people, and that’s who we’re fighting for right now. It’s between us and the Taliban… and we gotta show them that the Taliban are the bad guys and that we’re the winning side.”

Is it hard to keep fighting after suffering such a loss?

“For me to continue? No it’s not hard, because my job is to go get these guys. My job is to hunt down the enemy so we don’t have to be here any longer.”

Memorial Day 2010

By: Oliver North

ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY, Va. — This is the place that receives the most attention on Memorial Day, though it is but one of 141 national cemeteries in the United States and 24 others located on foreign soil. Many of our countrymen will observe this “last Monday in May” holiday with travel, shopping and picnics. But those who take the time to visit one of these hallowed grounds will have an unforgettable experience.

These are the final resting places for more than 3 million Americans who served in our armed forces — as soldiers, sailors, airmen, Guardsmen and Marines — including the nearly 5,500 who have perished in Afghanistan and Iraq.

A visit to one of these quiet memorials is a tribute to those who made history by wearing our nation’s uniform and taking up arms to preserve our liberty and free tens of millions of others from tyranny. In words written on stone markers, these places tell the story of who we are as a people.

Regardless of when they served, all interred in these cemeteries sacrificed the comforts of home and absented themselves from the warmth and affection of loved ones. Since 1776, more than 1.5 million Americans have lost their lives while in uniform.

At countless funerals and memorial services for those who lost their lives in the service of our country, I hear the question, “Why is such a good young person taken from us in the prime of life?” Plato, the Greek philosopher, apparently sought to resolve the issue by observing, “Only the dead have seen the end of war.” I prefer to take my solace in the words of Jesus to the Apostle John: “Father, I will that those you have given me, be with me where I am.”

My sojourns to this “Sacred Ground,” as Tom Ruck calls our national cemeteries in the title of his magnificent book, remind me that among those here are veterans who served with my father and all of my uncles in the conflagration of World War II. Only a handful of those 16.5 million from that “greatest generation” remain. Others resting in these consecrated places were tested just five years later in our first fight against despotic communism — on the Korean Peninsula. They braved stifling heat, mind-numbing cold and an enemy that often outnumbered them 10 to one.

Here are headstones of those who served in the decade between Korea and Vietnam. More than 12 millions young Americans donned military uniforms in what was called “the cold war.” It was only cold for those who didn’t have to fight in it. They served on land, air and sea in lonely outposts, dusty camps, along barbed wire barriers in foreign lands, on guard against those who would have done us harm if they had the chance.

Between 1964 and 1975, more than 7 million young Americans were committed to the bloody contest in Southeast Asia. The names of 58,267 who died from that fight are on the wall of the Vietnam War Memorial — some of them were my Marines and my brother’s soldiers. Headstones in cemeteries all across this land testify to more of their selfless sacrifice — and serve as a reminder that the victory denied in that war should never happen again.

In the three-and-a-half decades since Vietnam, not a single year has passed without Americans in uniform being committed to hostile action somewhere around the globe — including Grenada, Beirut, Panama, the Balkans and Kuwait. We are not a warlike people. But for more than two centuries, ours has been the only nation on earth willing to consistently send its sons and daughters into harm’s way — not for gold or oil or colonial conquest, but to offer others the hope of liberty.

Since Sept. 11, that great legacy has been borne by volunteers serving in the shadows of the Hindu Kush, along the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates, in the Persian Gulf and on anti-piracy patrols in the Indian Ocean. These young Americans are engaged against a merciless enemy who has proven repeatedly that there is no atrocity beneath them — and that they will do whatever it takes to kill as many of our countrymen as possible.

Those now in uniform deserve our thanks, for no nation has ever had a better military force than the one we have today. And no accolade to those presently in our country’s service is greater than honoring the veterans who preceded them on Memorial Day.

Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/columns/Memorial-Day-2010-95143364.html#ixzz0pKTmb7lx

A Few Stars Who Have Served In The Military

Elvis Presley completed basic training at Fort Hood in 1958, and was posted with the 3rd Armored Division to Friedberg, Germany where he served until March 2, 1960.
Audie Murphy became a successful actor after his tour of duty, and what a tour it was. One of the most highly decorated soldiers in World War II, Murphy received the Medal of Honor and 32 more citations from the U.S. and our allies. He was buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetary.
"NYPD Blue" star Dennis Franz (here with co-star Ricky Schroeder) fought in the Vietnam War with the Army's 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions.
Already one of the most respected actors in Hollywood, Jimmy Stewart enlisted and was a pilot in World War II, starting as a flight instructor until he became the commander of the 445th Bombardment Group. Stewart was the command pilot in the lead B-24 on numerous missions over Nazi-occupied Europe. He twice received the Distinguished Flying Cross for actions in combat. Before the war ended, he was promoted to colonel.
Lee Marvin and Charles Bronson played soldiers in "The Dirty Dozen," and were also soldiers in real life as well. Marvin was a sniper in the Marines, and Bronson was a gunner in the Air Force during World War II.
Henry Fonda, left, portrayed Adm. Nimitz, Glenn Ford, center, was Adm. Spruance, and Robert Mitchum was Adm. Bull Halsey in the 1975 film "Midway." Fonda fought in the Navy in World War II and was given the Bronze Star.
Chuck Norris was an MP in the Air Force.
Clint Eastwood (far right) was drafted into the Army in 1950 and became a swimming and life-saving instructor at Fort Ord.

Seeing a fallen soldier home

By Colleen M. Getz

His name was Marine Lance Cpl. Justin Wilson – although I did not know it when his life brushed mine on March 25 at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. Lance Cpl. Wilson was not there in the terminal that afternoon; at age 24 and newly married, he had been killed in Afghanistan on March 22 by a roadside bomb. A coincidence of overbooked flights led our lives to intersect for perhaps an hour, one I will never forget.

I did not meet his family that day at the airport, either, although we were there together that evening at the gate, among the crowd hoping to board the oversold flight. I did not know that I had a boarding pass and they did not. I did not know they were trying to get home to hold his funeral, having journeyed to Dover, Del., to meet his casket upon its arrival from Afghanistan.

I also did not know that they already had been stuck for most of the day in another airport because of other oversold flights. But I did not need to know this to realize what they were going through as the event unfolded and to understand the larger cause for it. No matter how we as a nation have relearned the lesson forgotten during Vietnam – that our military men and women and their families deserve all the support we can give them – despite our nation’s fighting two wars in this decade, it is all too easy for most of us to live our lives without having the very great human cost of those wars ever intrude.

But it did intrude heartbreakingly that day at the airport gate. It began simply enough, with the usual call for volunteers: Anyone willing to take a later flight would receive a $500 flight voucher. Then came the announcement none of us was prepared to hear. There was, the airline representative said, a family on their way home from meeting their son’s body as it returned from Afghanistan, and they needed seats on the flight. And there they were, standing beside her, looking at us, waiting to see what we would decide. It wasn’t a hard decision for me; my plans were easily adjusted. I volunteered, as did two women whom I later learned sacrificed important personal plans.

But we three were not enough: Six were needed. So we stood there watching the family – dignified and mute, weighed with grief and fatigue – as the airline representative repeatedly called for assistance for this dead soldier’s family. No one else stepped forward. The calls for volunteers may have lasted only 20 or 30 minutes, but it seemed hours. It was almost unbearable to watch, yet to look away was to see the more than 100 other witnesses to this tragedy who were not moved to help. Then it did become unbearable when, in a voice laced with desperation and tears, the airline representative pleaded, “This young man gave his life for our country, can’t any of you give your seats so his family can get home?” Those words hung in the air. Finally, enough volunteers stepped forward.

I had trouble sleeping that night; I could not get out of my mind the image of the family or the voice pleading for them.When I met my fellow volunteers the next morning at the airport, I found I was not alone. One had gone home and cried, and another had awakened at 3 a.m.; all of us were angry and ashamed that our fellow passengers had not rushed to aid this soldier’s family and consequently had forced them to be on public display in their grief. We worried that this indifference to their son’s sacrifice added to their sorrow.

It turned out my destination was his hometown, so I was able to learn his name and more. I learned he had been a talented graffiti artist and had married his sweetheart, Hannah, the day before he deployed to Afghanistan. They planned a big wedding with family and friends for after he returned home. I learned how proud he was to become a Marine in January 2009. I learned that he and his fellow Marines liked to give the candy they received from home to Afghan children. In sum, I learned that he was the kind of honorable, patriotic young person we want defending our country and how great our loss is that he had to give his life in doing so.

I posted a message to his family on the online condolence book. I told them I was sorry for what they went through in trying to see their son’s body home, but because of it, many more people were going to have heard of Justin and his dedication to his country: I was going to tell everyone I knew about what I had witnessed and tell them his name. And I have.

I thought that was enough, until I received a thank-you note from Lance Cpl. Wilson’s father-in-law.It was a completely humbling experience; he wrote that he was glad I had been able to learn about Justin, and he wanted me to know that Justin “served knowing the risks, but felt it was his obligation and privilege to serve his country.” At that moment, I realized that in this day of an all-volunteer military and a distant war that touches so few of our lives directly, more people should hear the story of Lance Cpl. Wilson and his family.

I’ve thought a lot about what happened that day in the airport, and I choose to believe my fellow passengers were not unfeeling in the face of a soldier’s death and a family’s tragedy. They were just caught off guard – they were totally unprepared to confront the fierce consequences of the war in Afghanistan on their way to Palm Beach on a sunny afternoon.And I believe it was for this reason that people did not rush to the podium to volunteer their seats. It was not that they did not want to, and it was not that they did not think it was the right thing to do. Rather, it was because they were busy trying to assimilate this unexpected confrontation with the irrevocable cost of war and to figure out how to fit doing the right thing into their plans – to fit it into their lives not previously touched by this war. In the end, enough of us figured out how to do the right thing, and it turned out as well as such a painful situation could.

But still I wonder: Barring some momentous personal event that necessitated a seat on that flight, how could any of us even have hesitated? How could we have stopped to weigh any inconvenience to our plans against the sacrifice Lance Cpl. Wilson and his family had made for our country? In such circumstances, it is not a question of recognizing the right thing to do; we should know it is the only thing to do.

From what I have learned of him, in his short life, Lance Cpl. Wilson created a legacy of courage and patriotism that will not be forgotten by those who knew him. I hope there’s a greater legacy as well. I hope through this account of his family’s struggle to see him home, if ever again the war intrudes unbidden on my life or yours, we will know what we must do, and in their honor, and for all those who serve and sacrifice, we will do it.

Colleen M. Getz works in the NATO policy office of the Department of Defense.

Some Famous American Warriors

Fox News

American troops serving at home and abroad have given their lives, their limbs and years of service to a grateful nation. Many of those who have passed away are buried with honor in Arlington National Cemetery — more than 300,000 veterans in total — but far more have been laid to rest in memorial sites and private plots around the country. Here is a look at the final resting places of some of the most famous American warriors who have served since the nation’s founding.

REVOLUTIONARY WAR
Before he was president, George Washington led the Continental Army in the six-year fight against British troops. Washington is interred at his home in Mount Vernon, Va. Nathanael Greene, one of Washington’s top generals, was felled at the age of 44 by sunstroke shortly after the war ended. He is buried in Johnson Square in Savannah, Ga. The great American naval hero of the war, John Paul Jones, died in France and was buried there, but was later exhumed. His hallowed remains are now enshrined at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.

INDIAN AND MEXICAN WARS
Andrew Jackson fought bravely in the War of 1812 and in numerous engagements with Indian tribes, dying in 1845 of a series of ailments after serving two terms in the White House. He’s buried on his estate, the Hermitage, in Nashville, Tenn. Future president Zachary Taylor fought Indians from Indiana to Florida to Texas and later became a hero of the Mexican-American War. He is interred in Zachary Taylor National Cemetery in Louisville, Ky.

CIVIL WAR
Though Arlington National Cemetery was created during the Civil War, few of its great generals are buried there — not even Robert E. Lee, who once owned the property. Ulysses S. Grant lies in Grant’s Tomb in New York’s Riverside Park. Gen. Winfield Scott, an important Union strategist, is buried at West Point, where he is joined by George Armstrong Custer, who survived the Civil War but died at the Battle of Little Big Horn.

After the war, Gen. Robert E. Lee became the President of Washington College in Lexington, Va. (now Washington and Lee University), and is interred at the school’s Lee Chapel. His ablest commander is buried in the same city in Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery, though the Confederate tactician lost an arm in battle, and the arm is buried elsewhere.

WORLD WAR II
Commander in chief of the Pacific fleet, Chester W. Nimitz: was later promoted to Chief of Naval Operation. He was buried at Golden Gate Cemetery in San Bruno, Calif, in 1966. Gen. Dwight Eisenhower was president of both the U.S. and Columbia University, and buried in the chapel at his presidential center in Abilene, Kan., in 1969. The top general in the Pacific theater, Douglas MacArthur, was laid to rest in the MacArthur Memorial in Norfolk, Va., alongside his wife.

VIETNAM
James Stockdale was the highest-ranking officer held as a POW in Vietnam and spent more than seven years in confinement. When he passed away in 2005 he was buried at the Naval Academy Cemetery in Annapolis, Md. William Westmoreland, the commanding general in Vietnam from 1964 to 1968, died just two weeks after Stockdale and was laid to rest in the cemetery at West Point. Charles Beckwith, who is credited with creating the special operations team Delta Force, was buried in Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio, Tex., upon his death in 1994.

IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN
Jason Dunham, a Marine corporal, received the Medal of Honor for smothering a grenade with his helmet and body while wrestling an insurgent in Iraq. He lies in a private cemetery in Alleghany, N.Y. (image) Navy SEAL Michael Monsoor was awarded the Medal of Honor after jumping on a grenade in 2006 to shield his sniper team in Iraq; he is buried in Fort Rosencrans National Cemetery, San Diego. (image) Another SEAL, Michael P. Murphy, died bravely in a firefight in Afghanistan and was buried in Calverton National Cemetery in Calverton, N.Y.

Yet more than 125,000 American troops are buried on foreign soil in 24 permanent cemeteries, including two of the country’s finest warriors. Gen. George S. Patton survived World War II and asked to be buried with his men. He was laid to rest in a U.S. military cemetery in Hamm, Luxembourg, after his death in 1945. Theodore Roosevelt Jr., who, like his father, was awarded the Medal of Honor, led the assault on Utah Beach and is buried in the military cemetery in Normandy, France.

Obama and Kagan are Memorial Day MIAs

Servicemen places flags in front of graves in Arlington Cemetery on Thursday. More the 250,000 flags were placed at Arlington National Cemetery of in honor of Memorial Day. (Andrew Harnik/Examiner) Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/columns/OpEd-Contributor/Kay-Daly-Obama-and-Kagan-are-Memorial-Day-MIAs-95110824.html#ixzz0pFF9VMEo

By: Kay Daly

This Memorial Day weekend, my family will pack into the SUV and make the journey to the Gettysburg battlefields. Our little ones haven’t been there yet, and with their two history-buff uncles in town, it seems like a relevant activity to undertake.

Basically, we are a military family. Even my youngest son was born seven years ago on May 30th, the official Memorial Day. One relative or another in our direct family line has served in every war, conflict and dust-up in our nation’s history.

One uncle traveling with us volunteered for the Army during the Vietnam War. Despite being the grandson of one of the ranking officers at Bataan in World War II, he served in the enlisted ranks.

On one trip to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial a few years ago, while looking at the book of names provided to locate them on the panels, several tears began to fall down his cheeks.

Brushing them aside, he quietly told me that it wasn’t the names that were on the wall that had so deeply affected him, but the names that he didn’t find — the friends who had been whisked away by medical transport with grave injuries, who had unbeknownst to him, survived. The tears came from joy and relief upon learning of lives that were not cut short.

While in Gettysburg, we will look for a particular monument to the Army of Tennessee that our great, great-grandfather served with for a majority of the Civil War. David Absolom Knox started out with Company E of the 5th Arkansas Regiment on June 24, 1861, under the command of “Old Pat Cleyborn,” according to family notes, but then was sworn into the Army of Tennessee in the fall of 1861. A portrait of him proudly wearing his Civil War medal some 40 years later has a home on my mantelpiece.

At some point this weekend, we will make the pilgrimage to Arlington National Cemetery to pay our respects to my husband’s grandfather. Robert C. Donald was a Master Sgt. in the Green Berets and served in WWII, Korea and three tours in Vietnam.

On his final tour in Vietnam, 52 year old “Top” Donald, who had been awarded multiple Bronze Stars and Purple Hearts during his lifetime career, was killed in action at Pleiku on February 17, 1967, leaving a wife and nine children to mourn his untimely passing.

My own father served in the Office of Strategic Services (O.S.S.) in both the Pacific and the European theaters during World War II, a fact that most of his closest lifetime friends knew nothing of until his funeral in 2003.

We knew of the profound impact of his service from just the glimpse he would give us into those years every once in a while, not to mention the ever-present loaded gun he kept under his bed until the day he died.

My husband, a disabled veteran, served as a Cavalry Scout in the Army. And he has multiple cousins currently serving or just returned from Iraq and Afghanistan. Happily, one cousin is due to return in the next week to his wife and newborn baby.

And what kind of a country is he returning to? America is now a nation with a commander in chief—while the nation is fighting two wars– who will not take the time to pay his respects at Arlington National Cemetary on Memorial Day to those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

What does this say to those who are currently serving in a dangerous conflict around the world? The White House casually announced that President Obama will stop by a veterans cemetery in Chicago, but that really isn’t Arlington National Cemetery, a symbol recognized worldwide of America’s ever-vigilant fight against tyranny and for liberty.

Perhaps we should be thankful that Obama isn’t merely driving by the cemetery and tossing a wreath out of his limousine window given his track record of snubbing the military. As one of the few American Presidents who has not worn his nation’s uniform, we shouldn’t be surprised that he would nominate a Supreme Court Justice who has not served in the military, but is replacing the last Supreme Court Justice who has. Although Justice Stevens was of a decidedly liberal bent, he did have the “life experience” of a distinguished military career like so many millions of his fellow Americans.

Elena Kagan was outright hostile to military recruiters who dared to venture onto the Harvard Law School campus while she was the dean. As Ed Whelan wrote in Bench Memos on May 14, 2010, “…Kagan treated military recruiters worse than she treated the high-powered law firms that were donating their expensive legal services to anti-American terrorists.”

Quite a statement about the dean of a law school that historically has had a proud tradition of military service. As one of the nation’s first universities, Harvard students served with distinction throughout our early history.

But as time has passed and political correctness has firmly taken root, Harvard has gone from housing an extraordinary number of Medal of Honor winners in a variety of armed conflicts, to providing some of this nation’s best and brightest to serve in the most dangerous situations in the OSS in World War II, to not allowing even the ROTC to establish a chapter on campus, and ensuring that a military recruiter has to hack through an enormous mountain of red tape.

The Harvard Veterans Association (www.harvardveterans.org) proudly lists the history of exemplary military service by Harvard students and graduates from King Philips War of 1675 to the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

One cannot help but note a correlation between a Harvard organization welcoming to the armed forces and the noteworthy number of students who joined up to serve their nation. The opposite is true as well. With the rise in liberal opposition on campuses to the Vietnam War and the Clinton-established “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, student participation has dwindled.

The HVA posts a telling article from May 20, 2008, by William McGurn entitled “Why Harvard Hates the Military” in which McGurn bemoans the purposeful lack of attendance of military commissioning ceremonies by recent Harvard deans, writing, “And whether you are for the war in Iraq or against it, for gays in the military or against them, we should be able to honor these good men and women [who wear the uniform] publicly [at a commissioning ceremony at graduation], and without embarrassment.”

Clearly during Elena Kagan’s tenure at Harvard, she advanced the shunning of all things military even if it was in direct conflict with federal law. The Kagan policy on military recruiting on campus was in direct violation with the Solomon Amendment, a federal law that should have superseded any of her considerations of Harvard Law School policy.

But as Stuart Taylor wrote aptly described in his National Journal column on May 15, 2010, “Kagan’s World is a legal academic complex oozing politically correct bias, moral vanity, detachment from the real world, and a cynical view of the law as meaning whatever you can manipulate it to mean.”

In other words, my much-prayed for cousins, one who survived being shot down while piloting his Apache helicopter in Iraq and the other, soon to arrive home from a rough winter in the Afghanistan mountains, are coming home to a president who cannot be bothered to pay his respects at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day while our military is fighting and dying abroad. For an added kick in the teeth, he nominates a non-veteran to replace the last veteran on the Supreme Court.

While Elena Kagan is busily molding the Constitution like a toddler with a new handful of Playdoh, our servicemen and women around the world will continue to sacrifice everything to protect and preserve the Constitution and the liberties it affords to these very citizens who hold them in contempt.

Military families everywhere have much to grieve for this Memorial Day.

Kay Daly is president of the Coalition for a Fair Judiciary.

AMERICAN WAR DEAD DESERVE BETTER THAN OBAMA

AP

The White House says Obama and his family will travel to their hometown on Thursday and stay through the weekend. It will be their first trip back home since a visit for Valentine’s Day weekend in February 2009.

On Monday, Obama is scheduled to participate in a Memorial Day ceremony at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, Ill.

In Obama’s absence, Vice President Joe Biden will participate in the customary wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery outside Washington.

More details about Obama’s trip will be released soon.