That's not sitting very well with some veterans.
Memorial Day honors the sacrifices made on behalf of a grateful nation. It's a day to pause and remember and appreciate the high cost of freedom.
Last year, President Obama kept with tradition and attended the ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. But this year, he chose to attend a ceremony at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Illinois.
The move is not entirely unprecedented. Obama's predecessor, George W. Bush, was in France on Memorial Day in 2002. He traveled with a bipartisan delegation, including former Secretary of State Colin Powell, to American Cemetery in Normandy to pay respects to those who gave their lives on D-Day.
His father, the first President Bush, never attended Memorial Day ceremonies at Arlington, and even Ronald Reagan missed two such events there, though for one of those missed ceremonies he went to speak at West Point.
With the country involved in two wars, some veterans see the president's decision to not go to Arlington on Memorial Day as a lack of sensitivity.
At a pre-Memorial Day event in downtown Manhattan Friday, veterans expressed their dismay.
"I'm not happy," World War II vet Nathan Abbe said. "I think it's an insult to all our veterans."
Vince McGowan fought in Vietnam. When he found out the Commander-in-Chief wouldn't be at Arlington, he cancelled his own plans to go.
"Let the president know that if it wasn't good enough for him to find the time to come and visit with us, then we'll stay home and take care of ourselves, as we always do," McGowan said.
But Katharine Cross, who lost her soldier son, Tyler, in 2002, doesn't see the president's decision as an insult.
"President Obama, I'm sure, carries a very heavy load. As our service people are today serving our country and defending it, so I'm sure is he," Cross said. "If he cannot be at Arlington, I'm sure he's serving us well."
Cross will travel with other Gold Star Mothers to present a wreath at Arlington on Monday.
Incidentally, during his eight years in office, President Clinton never missed a single Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington.
someone on my facebook was pretty upset about this. they made a status update with a lot of agreements that this is disrespectful. i don't really have an opinion because i'm not aware how significant the ceremony is; i've regretfully not paid much attention to Memorial Day in the past. opinions?