01/12/2015 04:41 pm ET Updated Mar 14, 2015

White House Falls on Its Sword While Millions Show Unity

White House Spokesman Josh Earnest "manned up" in the Monday briefing. On a cold, rainy, miserable day he admitted the administration should have sent higher level representation to the historic rally in Paris Sunday. 44 Heads of State risked their lives. Many marched arm and arm. They were high-risk targets -- including European leaders, Prime Minister Netanyhu of Israel and Palestinian Authority leader Mahmood Abbas. President Obama and Vice President Biden had no public schedules over the weekend. Attorney General Eric Holder was in Paris, but did not attend the million-plus march. Secretary of State John Kerry had security meetings in India and Pakistan, and will soon visit Paris.

The U.S. was represented in the massive demonstration by the Ambassador to France. French authorities claim they are pleased with American support. Josh Earnest said the president did not make the decision and said security was a major factor. He also claimed the president's attendance might have distracted from the unity of the French people.

The march was all about unity and courage in the face of terrorism. It was full of pride and patriotism.

French President Hollande showed real courage. He declared war on terrorism, called up the military, and posted extra guards at Jewish schools and establishments. He also paid a visit to the Grand Synagogue of Paris. Prime Minister Netanyhu said four young Jewish men who were assassinated would be buried in Israel.

The future could be difficult for many in Europe and the rest of the world. Moderate leaders in the Muslim, Christian, Jewish, and other communities must take a stand against terrorists. Suffering and massive murders take place in Africa and other parts of the world, and they are largely ignored.

This is a time for courage and unity. It is also a time for symbolism. The White House admits President Obama should have been in that front row of leaders, marching, singing, and waving flags and signs of courage and determination.