The University of Virginia has cancelled the 21-gun salute part of its Veterans Day ceremony on Monday.
Explanation: On Saturday, university President James Ryan posted a statement on Facebook, explaining the reasons behind the cancellation of the portion, that has been included in the ceremony for over 10 years.
In response to concerns about the cancellation of the 21-gun salute portion of the Veterans Day ceremony, I thought it…
Ryan noted it was “to minimize disruptions to classes, given that this event is located at the juncture of four primary academic buildings and is held at a time that classes are in session; and second, recognizing concerns related to firing weapons on the Grounds in light of gun violence that has happened across our nation, especially on school and university campuses.”
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The decision was made by the Provost’s office, along with the colonel of UVA’s ROTC program, reports WHSV. The ceremony reportedly marks the finish of a 24-hour vigil by ROTC cadets.
Ryan added that the university intends on revisiting the matter in 2020.
“[C]ommunity responses have helped us to understand that many see the 21-gun salute as an important element of the Veterans Day ceremony at the University of Virginia. Given that the plans are already in place for this year, we will follow the event organizers’ recommendation to proceed without the 21-gun salute in our Veterans Day Ceremony,” he stated.
“Following this year’s ceremony, however, we will work with our ROTC officers and cadets to take a closer look at options for our Veterans Day events, including those that would enable us to re-introduce the 21-gun salute to the program.”
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Response: Their decision prompted criticism on its own. The Daily Progress published several letters to the editor, expressing their opinion, with one writer claiming it sends “an unfortunate message about students: That they are too fragile, too delicate, too distractible to deal with the ‘interruption’ of the salute. That they are too insular, too wrapped up in their own worlds to comprehend and accept this longstanding practice. That they must be protected from the reality that exists outside academia.”
Ryan’s response was also lambasted on Twitter.
In response to concerns about the cancellation of the 21-gun salute portion of the Veterans Day ceremony, I thought it might be useful to pass along some background on how we reached the decision: https://t.co/k7vJhiicX0
— Jim Ryan (@presjimryan) November 9, 2019
“As a @UVA #UVA student veteran, thank you for marginalizing my community. That is a direct, unmitigated slap in the face to those of us who have served, and especially to those of us who have served and lost. I am deeply sorry that you decided to make this incorrect decision,” one Twitter user commented.
As a veteran and a employee of UVA, i am embarrassed.
— Skip (@skipa02lip) November 11, 2019
Total nonsense. Give me a break.
— Kevin Tschirhart (@kevintschirhart) November 9, 2019
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Several Twitter users showed support of Ryan’s statement:
People forget that rampant mass shootings are commonplace now, so it makes sense not to be firing off guns near classrooms
— Lisa Andrews Holt (@Soccermama87) November 10, 2019
— Marcus Leibowitz (@mleibro) November 9, 2019
(Image courtesy of U.S. Army)