So you're Pope. It's your 81st birthday or thereabouts and the President of the USA wants to throw a massive bash to celebrate. You refuse to attend because it makes the wrong noises in a time of financial downturn and draws people towards you, not Jesus. Good. The bash goes ahead anyway. Weird.
You apologise to all those in the States who have been abused by miscreant priests. Correct. That needed doing.
So what's with the 21 gun salute thing? The person in the world probably most closely identified by most people (I was careful there, see?) with the search for peace was to be greeted by big, dangerous bangy things. Couldn't he have stopped that?