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Q&A: Presidents don't always lay wreath at Tomb of Unknown Soldier on Memorial Day

Presidents and Memorial Day

Is President Barack Obama the first president to not lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on Memorial Day? How much of a snub is this?

Some veterans groups are unhappy that President Obama chose to spend Memorial Day in Chicago, and many conservative media types have joined in.

But Obama is not alone in not making the Memorial Day ceremony at the Arlington National Cemetery every year, and sending a proxy (in this case Vice President Joe Biden). Just in recent history:

• President Ronald Reagan missed four of the eight ceremonies in his presidency — while recovering after being shot, when he instead went to Camp David, when he was in Moscow and when he attended a summit in Virginia.

• President George H. W. Bush never attended a Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington. He was in Maine for three years and Rome another year.

• In 2002, George W. Bush was in France on Memorial Day. In his place, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz placed a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

President Bill Clinton, who served in the eight years between the Bush terms, attended the Arlington ceremony in each of his years in the White House.

WebTV's day has passed

I noticed in the Reader's Exchange column in the Times that a person was offering a Web TV. What's a Web TV?

WebTV allowed people to use the Internet on their TV screen instead of a computer monitor. It consisted of an adapter to allow the Internet cable to be plugged into the TV, a keyboard and a Web browser.

It didn't give all the functions of a computer, but provided a lower-cost alternative.

WebTV launched in 1996 and was bought by Microsoft in 1997. It became profitable by 1998 and grew to 800,000 subscribers by 1999.

But customers dwindled as dial-up Internet service largely gave way to broadband. The service is no longer available for purchase, though Microsoft still supports the subscription service for existing customers.

Complaints about telemarketers

I keep getting junk unsolicited calls even though I have registered on the no-call list. To whom can I report these violations?

Once you register your phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry, telemarketers have up to 31 days from the date you register to stop calling you.

So, go to You can file a complaint from that website.

Those who haven't registered may do so at that website or get further information about the service.

Q&A: Presidents don't always lay wreath at Tomb of Unknown Soldier on Memorial Day 06/06/10 [Last modified: Friday, June 4, 2010 5:23pm]
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