NPR : News

Filed Under:

Obama Forgets To Salute; Sparks Debate On Presidential Tradition

As President Obama boarded Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on Friday, he didn't return the salute of the Marine standing at the base of the stairs.

Obama realized it once he got into the helicopter, so he turned around and shook the Marine's hand. Here's video of the moment:

As happens with anything to do with the presidency, Obama's forgetfulness unleashed scrutiny and criticism.

But, perhaps, the more interesting thing to emerge from the coverage is a 2009 piece from The New York Times.

In it Carey Winfrey, the retired editor of Smithsonian magazine and a former Marine, talks about the history of the presidential salutes. He points out that his USMC instructor taught him never to salute without a hat or when he was out of uniform.

He goes on to say that the tradition of presidents — sans hat nor uniform — to return salutes started in 1981 with President Ronald Reagan. Winfrey explains:

"He had sought advice on the matter from Gen. Robert Barrow, commandant of the Marine Corps. According to John Kline, then Mr. Reagan's military aide and today a member of Congress from Minnesota, General Barrow told the president that as commander in chief he could salute anybody he wished. And so it began."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

'Deadpool' Is a Potty-Mouthed Splatterfest. A Really Funny One

NPR film critic Bob Mondello says Deadpool goes in deep on its R rating — and has plenty of fun doing it.
NPR

Buy Crop Insurance, Double Your Money

The nation's crop insurance program is really a lottery, says one economist. And it's rigged so that farmers win. In fact, farmers typically get back double the money they pay for premiums.
WAMU 88.5

The Politics Hour - February 12, 2016

D.C. Council Member Yvette Alexander (D-Ward 7) joins Kojo and Tom Sherwood to chat about her upcoming fight for re-election.

NPR

Do You Like Me? Swiping Leads To Spike In Online Dating For Young Adults

A study by the Pew Research Center finds the use of online dating sites has mushroomed in the past few years, particularly among 18- to 24-year-olds.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.