On the 72nd anniversary of D-Day, when American troops stormed the beach at Normandy, France during World War II, we decided to truth-check a chain email that has been still been circulating.
The email claims, "...every American President except Obama have taken the time to honor the memory and sacrifices of the...American soldiers killed on D-Day. ...Except Obama!"
There are actually only four American presidents who have visited the D-Day Monument on D-Day. While Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Nixon, Ford, Carter and George H.W. Bush all visited France after 1944, they were never there on D-Day. Presidents Harry Truman and Lyndon Johnson never went to France at all, according to the State Department. Here are the four who did visit Normandy on D-Day anniversaries:
- Ronald Reagan attended commemorative ceremonies and delivered the 40th anniversary address in 1984.
- Bill Clinton gave a speech at the 50th anniversary in 1994.
- At the 60th anniversary in 2004, George W. Bush delivered an address in Normandy with French President Jacques Chirac.
- And the fourth president to speak on D-Day? President Barack Obama, at the 65th anniversary ceremony in 2009, where he dedicated the new visitor center at the U.S. Military Cemetery in Normandy.
The email lists events from Obama’s schedules on June 6 of 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013, and it’s correct when it says Obama was not at the D-Day anniversary in Normandy in those years. But the email omits mention of the year he was present at the anniversary -- 2009.
Making the email’s claim even more ironic is that Obama attended D-Day's 70th anniversary on June 6, 2014.
The chain email said that Barack Obama is the only American president who has not visited the D-Day Monument in Normandy on D-Day.
This long-circulating email was always wrong -- presidents Reagan, Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama himself had indeed visited the monument in Normandy on D-Day -- but it’s especially wrong now, as Obama visited the monument again in 2014, making him the only president to visit it twice on D-Day.
We rate the claim Pants on Fire!