Elwood, Illinois (CNN) - A little rain never hurt anyone, but a torrential downpour and lightning strikes kept President Barack Obama from commemorating Memorial Day as he had planned.
A major rainstorm soaked the president and crowd at Monday's Memorial Day event at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Illinois.
"We are a little bit concerned about lightning. This may not be safe," Obama told the crowd. "I know that all of you are here to commemorate the fallen and that's why we're here."
The president then asked the crowd to move to their cars and wait out the storm, saying he would return if the weather passed. His motorcade left the cemetery once before doubling back when the storm slowed.
Obama was able to greet some crowd members on a bus parked at the cemetery, but never returned to the stage.
Instead, he left the cemetery and met with families of veterans and service members living at the recently opened Chicago-area Fisher House, which services the Hines VA Hospital.
But the presidential motorcade faced another hurdle – screeching to a halt on I-55 because a vehicle suffered a flat tire. The occupants were able to hitch a ride in another motorcade vehicle and resume the drive.
At Fisher House, President Obama spent about thirty minutes visiting with families, posing for photos, and touring the facility, according to White House spokesman Bill Burton.
The motorcade returned to Chicago and dropped off the president at the airport. Despite the continuing rain, Air Force One took off without incident.
Air Force One is scheduled to land at Andrews Air Force base Monday evening. President Obama is expected to deliver Memorial Day remarks to troops and families on the base.