UVA nixes 21-gun salute from Veterans Day ceremony

For years, the University of Virginia has included a 21-gun salute in its Veterans Day ceremony.

This year, the school removed that element of the ceremony, noting concerns that gunshots would be "disruptive."

The University of Virginia axed its traditional Veterans Day 21-gun salute this year, citing concerns of potential "panic" caused to students by gunfire on campus.

The university held its regular Veterans Day celebration on Monday but abandoned its tradition of featuring a 21-gun salute to honor Veterans.

The decision to do away with the practice was made by both the university Provost's office and the colonel of the UVA ROTC program. 

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UVA President Jim Ryan reasoned that the gunfire would be "disruptive to classes" and had the potential to "cause a panic" among students because of "gun violence" in the country.

"They considered the option of relocating the ceremony to another place on Grounds. But given that the 21-gun salute is not a required, or even typical, part of Veteran’s Day ceremonies — as opposed to Memorial Day ceremonies, which are specifically dedicated to those who have lost their lives in service to our country — they chose to keep the ceremony at a central location on Grounds but leave out the 21-gun salute. That seemed to me, and still seems, a reasonable accommodation, given the 24-hour vigil and the other solemn and respectful elements of the ceremony," Ryan explained in a statement

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But Ryan says that backlash has caused the administration to rethink the removal as a permanent decision, noting that while this year's ceremony would lack the 21-gun element, negative feedback from the community regarding the decision has prompted the university to "take a closer look at options" for future Veterans Day ceremonies, "including those that would enable [them] to re-introduce the 21-gun salute to the program."

The 21-gun salute had been part of the university's Veterans Day ceremony for more than a decade. 

The university directed Campus Reform to Ryan's statement in lieu of offering further comment. 

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