An interesting letter sent to Obama last year by a group of black academics and historians encourages him to not participate in the Memorial Day Ceremony at Arlington: May 18, 2009 President Barack H. Obama The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500 Dear President Obama: Since the administration of Woodrow Wilson, presidents have sent annually a wreath to the Arlington Confederate Monument. Prior to the administration of George H. W. Bush, this was done on or near the birthday of Jefferson Davis. Starting with George H.W. Bush, it has been done on Memorial Day. We ask you to not send a wreath or some other commemorative token to the Arlington Confederate Monument during your administration or after. There are several reasons as to why this monument, a product of the Nadir in American race relations, should not be honored, and we list and explain them in this letter. The monument was intended to legitimize secession and the principles of the Confederacy and glorify the Confederacy. It isnt just a remembrance of the dead. The speeches at its ground-breaking and dedication defended and held up as glorious the Confederacy and the ideas behind it and stated that the monument was to these ideals as well as the dead. It was also intended as a symbol of white nationalism, portrayed in opposition to the multiracial democracy of Reconstruction, and a celebration of the re-establishment of white supremacy in the former slave states by former Confederate soldiers. In its design it also tells wrong history, boasting fourteen shields with the coat of arms of fourteen states. Thus it claims that Missouri, Kentucky, and Maryland were part of the Confederacy. They werent. .... Dear President Obama: Please Don't Honor the Arlington Confederate Monument More on this at DailyKos: Daily Kos: State of the Nation The optics here are not good.