[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/11/06/art.obamagermany.gi.jpg caption="Obama is taking heat for skipping the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.'"](CNN) - Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is taking aim at President Obama's decision not to travel to Germany next week to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the latest in a string of conservatives to criticize Obama's decision to skip the ceremony on November 9.
"Some consider President Obama's refusal to attend the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall in Germany next week an outrage, I consider it a tragedy." Gingrich wrote in an op-ed published Friday in The Washington Examiner.
"To commemorate, after all, is to remember. And Americans need to remember, not just that the Wall fell, but why it fell," Gingrich added. "We need to remember that the Berlin Wall was the symbol of more than just the Cold War, more than just the division of Europe."
While the president had originally planned to be on hand for the event, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs confirmed earlier this week scheduling conflicts and preparation for his impending 10-day trip to Asia have instead caused Obama to stay in Washington.
"Obviously, we have a lot to work on here, and we have commitments for an upcoming Asia trip," Gibbs said Tuesday. The White House announced Friday that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will lead a delegation to Berlin.
But Obama's decision to miss the event appeared to spark derision from Der Spiegel, one of Germany's major newsweeklies, which declared on its Web site "Barack's too busy," and noted the president has not visited the historic city since taking office.
The move has also led to criticisms from conservative commentators who, like Gingrich, say the president's move amounts to a snub of all that the Berlin Wall's demise represented.
"Obama's failure to go to Berlin is the most telling nonevent of his presidency," wrote Rich Lowry of the National Review. "It's hard to imagine any other American president eschewing the occasion."
"This is unprecedented," Rush Limbaugh declared on his radio show earlier this week. "An American president not showing up at one of the most famous sites for the destruction of tyranny and the outbreak of freedom? Being invited by the chancellor, the leader of Germany, and not going?"
Obama did note the upcoming anniversary when he welcomed German Chancellor Angela Merkel to the White House Tuesday.
"We are now moving towards the 20th anniversary of the Berlin Wall coming down and Germany being reunified after so many painful years," Obama said. "And this is a special moment for Chancellor Merkel, as somebody who grew up in East Germany, who understands what it's like to be under the shadow of a dictatorial regime, and to see how freedom has bloomed in Germany, how it has become the centerpiece for a extraordinarily strong European Union."