During a visit to Westminster Abbey, President Obama placed a wreath at the Grave of the Unknown Warrior.
Laying a wreath is an integral part of every state visit to the United Kingdom.
Mr Obama solemnly placed a wreath of red and white carnations and blue hydrangeas on green foliage, helped by a US marine and a general from the US Air Force, the defence attache to the United Kingdom.
He followed in the footsteps of former Presidents Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton and George W Bush, who also previously laid wreaths in the abbey.
Instead of rousing hymns the abbey echoed with the voices of the Choir of Westminster Abbey who sang Justorum animae – The souls of the righteous are in the hands of God – by William Byrd during the silence.
All of it very proper, full of the traditional pomp and circumstance that epitomizes the British aristocracy.Â (And to any citizens of the UK who may be reading this, Iâ€™m saying that in truest of fond appreciation lacking in sarcasm).
The President and Mrs Obama were then escorted to the Nave, where they were shown the US Congressional Medal.Â President Obama then signed the Westminster Abbey guestbook:
“It is a great privilege to commemorate our common heritage and our common sacrifice,” â€¦.and dated it as being May 24, 2008.
As much as the British tried to encourage President Obama to have â€œfunâ€, he responded â€œ’It’s not in my job description to have funâ€.Â (Wow, wonder what all those trips to the golf course were really about then???)Â However, Obama did say that â€œin his second term he would come back and visit because it was just too short.â€ (Iâ€™m guessing he meant time was short, not the Dean of the school to whom he was speaking).Â (And if he thinks this visit was short, just wait until he starts realizing that there wonâ€™t be a second term if we the people have anything to say about it!!!)
Yet the crowning (pun intended) glory of his current experiences on this visit has to be when he botched the toast to the Queen of England.Â I kid you not, my fellow Americans.Â Our ambitious President, who wants above all things to be accepted into the modern era of AWL (Aristocratic World Leaders…okay, so I made that part up), Â didnâ€™t quite make the impression he was hoping for.
When the president toasted the Queen the orchestra misunderstood a pause and what seemed to be a cue from the president for â€œGod Save the Queenâ€ to begin playing.
â€œLadies and gentlemen please stand with me and raise your glasses as I propose a toast,â€ the president said, putting down his note cards and grabbing his glass. â€œTo her majesty the Queen.â€
The president paused, the guests stood, and the orchestra prepared to play.
But the president wasnâ€™t done speaking.
â€œThe vitality â€“â€œ the president said before the orchestra began.
Then the familiar tune â€“ you might know it better as â€œMy Country â€˜Tis of Theeâ€ â€“ started up.
The president kept going: â€œ — of the special relationship between our peoples and for the words of Shakespeare to this blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England,â€ the president said as the awkward moment played out.
The Queen looked ahead as the UK anthem played.
â€œTo the Queen,â€ the president finally said.
He lifted his glass to her, she smiled a bit uncomfortably.
But because the song was playing, no one drank from his or her glass, including the president, who put his glass down on the table.
Then once the song was over, everyone raised a glass.
(Face palm)Â (Double face palm!!!)
Okay, weâ€™d really rather that he stay abroad until after Nov. 2012, but to preserve the sanity of all other nations and to protect what little reputation we have leftâ€¦send him home.