University of Virginia officials nixed the school’s traditional 21-gun salute for Veterans Day this year because “gun violence” is scary, “especially on school and university campuses.”
UVA President James Ryan explained the decision in a Saturday Facebook post.
“Related to this year’s ceremony, the Provost’s Office and Col. Michael Hough, commanding officer of UVA’s Air Force ROTC detachment, worked closely together in making the decision to eliminate the 21-gun salute for two reasons: first, 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.”
Ryan alleged organizers for the ROTC-led event considered a different location, but opted to keep the central location but leave out the 21-gun salute, a tradition at the school for over a decade.
“That seemed to me, and still seems, a reasonable accommodation, given the 24-hour vigil and other solemn and respectful elements of the ceremony,” Ryan wrote, adding that UVA officials plan to “take a closer look” at options for celebrating Veterans Day for next year, “including those that would enable us to re-introduce the 21-gun salute to the program.”
The post did little to quell outrage over the cancellation, with many folks lashing out in the comments to Ryan’s Facebook post.
“Respectfully sir, I disagree!” Edward Pryor posted. “It’s a ceremony that takes less than 1 minute to complete. If your professors can’t pause for 1 minute, that’s a shame!”
“And it’s been done for how many years?” Becky Franklin added. “Just once I would love someone stand up for history instead of running and hiding.”
“Doesn’t matter why you made the decision, it was a stupid one,” Frankie Brewster wrote. “We just laid my dad to rest this morning. He was a 97 year old WWII veteran. I’m so ashamed of how the university and our country is disrespecting these men and women!”
Others took to Twitter to offer their thoughts.
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.
— Arthfach (@arthfach) November 10, 2019
“As a @UVA #UVA student veteran, thank you for marginalizing my community,” Arthfach wrote. “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.”
How “we” reached the decision? The buck stops with you. Score one for the snowflakes.
— Dwight Carlisle (@DwightCarlisle1) November 10, 2019
“How ‘we’ reached the decision? The buck stops with you,” Dwight Carlisle tweeted to Ryan. “Score one for the snowflakes.”
As a veteran and a employee of UVA, i am embarrassed.
— Skip (@skipa02lip) November 11, 2019
“As a veteran and a employee of UVA, I am embarrassed,” Skip added.
Unfortunately again, I disagree with your decision. I dare say it would do all of your students well to have a moment to remember those that perished for their freedom. If it were not for them your classes may well have been empty!
— Toni Ann (@toniannblair) November 11, 2019
“Unfortunately again, I disagree with your decision,” Toni Ann wrote. “I day say it would do all of your students well to have a moment to remember those that perished for their freedom. If it were not for them your classes may well have been empty!”